About Mrs. Leslie is available for streaming on Netflix. It was never released on DVD. It was released in theaters on June 27, 1954. Shirley Booth stars as Vivien Keeler. Robert Ryan co-stars as George Leslie. The movie is about an older woman who reminisces in flashbacks about her life during WWII when she was a nightclub performer and in a relationship with a mysterious man.
About Mrs. Leslie is a very good movie and I enjoyed it. Vivien meets George Leslie in the New York nightclub that she performs in.
Shirley Booth as nightclub performer Vivien Keeler
George takes to Vivien almost immediately because he can be himself and relax. Vivien doesn’t pry or demand anything of him. On their first date George asks Vivien to join him in California for six weeks, all expenses paid. After being reassured that the arrangement is about companionship and friendship Vivien decides to go to California. George is a decent and nice looking man and I think that Vivien probably never had such a man pay so much interest in her before. Being a nightclub performer she probably came across more men who did not have stellar intentions.
Now the problem that I have is that to me, there is no chemistry between Robert Ryan and Shirley Booth. Others may disagree with me but I was not feeling the two of them together. Both characters are older people, but Shirley as Vivien just looks so motherly and maternal that I have a challenge seeing her as anyone’s romantic interest in a movie. I do understand why George is comfortable with her though and why he seeks her out as a companion. Every year George spends six weeks in California with Vivien. Their first trip out Vivien falls in love with George.
Since Vivien always has her own room when they spend time in California, I am assuming that there was no physical intimacy involved. They do kiss a few times in the movie, but there is no touchy feely affection kind of thingy between the two characters. They obviously do care and love one another, but not in a lover’s passionate way. George has tremendous respect for Vivien and always recognizes the value that she brings to his life.
George tells the house attendants in California that Vivien is his wife, so she is known as Mrs. Leslie when she is with George.
One evening while Vivien is at the movie theater she finds out George’s true identity. George is married to a socialite and has two grown sons. Vivien is devastated and feels a little cheapened. George doesn’t want to let go of his relationship with Vivien and explains about his marriage and what his life has been like.
George and Vivien spend one last six-week period at the house in California. Instinctively Vivien knows it will be their last.
WWII finally ends when the Japanese surrender and Vivien expects to see George at some point. I won’t give away the ending.
In between Vivien reminiscing about her past, there are a few little sub-stories going on with the tenants of the boarding house that Vivien runs in the present time. Vivien held onto the name Mrs. Leslie and her love for George.
Shirley Booth was nominated for a BAFTA for her role in About Mrs. Leslie. The movie is based on a book by the same name written by Vina Delmar and published in 1950.
This is the 7th movie for my Period Drama Challenge.