St. Martin’s Lane (aka Sidewalks of London) on TCM

Vivien Leigh is the Star of the Month at Turner Classic Movies in September and I contributed an essay on the 1938 feature St. Martin’s Lane (renamed Sidewalks of London for its American release).

Vivien Leigh charmed by Rex Harrison

Sidewalks of London (1938, aka St. Martin’s Lane), a show business drama at the lowest rungs of the London entertainment ladder, is a Charles Laughton film. As star, co-producer (with Erich Pommer) and uncredited co-writer, he shaped this film around his gift for outsized characters, dramatic recitation, blustery sentimentality and quiet tragedy. But the bright light of this “star is born” tale is Vivien Leigh, the spunky beauty of the British screen whose star was ascending just like Liberty, the character she plays in the picture. It was only her third major leading role (along with a few significant supporting parts) and it became her final stepping stone to winning the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), the movie that made her an international star.

Read the complete feature here. The film plays on TCM on Tuesday, September 7 and is also available on a double-feature DVD with Wings of the Morning.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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