Waterloo Bridge

  • 1940
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Romance

In London during WWII, a British colonel, Taylor, is caught in a blackout in his chauffeured army sedan. He steps from the vehicle to tread the pavement of the famed Waterloo Bridge and begins to reminisce. In flashback, Taylor is a handsome young captain on the eve of WWI. He meets and falls in love with ballerina Leigh; they make plans to wed, but before...read more

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In London during WWII, a British colonel, Taylor, is caught in a blackout in his chauffeured army sedan. He steps from the vehicle to tread the pavement of the famed Waterloo Bridge and begins to reminisce. In flashback, Taylor is a handsome young captain on the eve of WWI. He meets and

falls in love with ballerina Leigh; they make plans to wed, but before they can do so Taylor's regiment is called into battle. Leigh abandons her performance to bid her lover farewell at Waterloo Station and is fired from the ballet company. Impoverished, she resorts to prostitution. She plies her

trade on the Waterloo Bridge where, months later, she meets the returning Taylor--who has spent the intervening time as a POW--and, thinking fast, conceals her profession during the shocking reunion. Their romance continues; it appears that her degradation was no more than a nightmare, best

forgotten. But inevitably, her indiscretions come to light.

Leigh is stunning in this second cinematic version of author Sherwood's hit play. (A fine first version was made in 1931 by James Whale and starred Mae Clarke and Douglass Montgomery.) WATERLOO BRIDGE was Leigh's first movie following the record-breaking David Selznick production of GONE WITH THE

WIND, which had made her the most visible, most desirable actress in the world. Selznick had loaned Leigh to MGM for the picture in repayment for help that studio's head had given him for the previous picture. Leigh was in the midst of a divorce from her husband Leigh Holman at the time, her

romance with Laurence Olivier--also wed at the time--a continuing scandal. She and Olivier had both invested every farthing they had in their planned theatrical production of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," and both were desperately in need of money. Olivier accepted the male lead in

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, and the lovers were forced to separate temporarily. Leigh was irate about the parting, believing that Olivier should have gotten the role assigned to Taylor. Taylor drew kudos for his mature, restrained performance, which revitalized his then-fading career by demonstrating

that he was more than just another pretty face, although critics were none too tolerant of his "Nebraska accent." Of all his seventy-plus screen performances, this was Taylor's personal favorite. The story was filmed again in 1956 as GABY, a disappointing version starring Leslie Caron and John

Kerr.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: In London during WWII, a British colonel, Taylor, is caught in a blackout in his chauffeured army sedan. He steps from the vehicle to tread the pavement of the famed Waterloo Bridge and begins to reminisce. In flashback, Taylor is a handsome young captain… (more)

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