Book Review: Damn You, Scarlett O’Hara by Darwin Porter and Roy Moseley

Six hundred and fifty page celebrity biographies are my idea of a reading challenge.    While I was of course familiar with Vivien Leigh from her iconic performance as Scarlett in Gone With The Wind,   I really only knew Sir Laurence Olivier as a ‘famous name’.   But the title  Damn You, Scarlett O’Hara very much caught my eye at the library and I brought home Darwin Porter and Roy Moseley’s  thick double biography.

Porter and Moseley and publisher Blood Moon Productions seem to have made careers and a business of  producing meticulously researched volumes that “out” dead gay celebrities.   I have to confess that I am so out of it, that I had no clue about the secret queer lives of Sir Olivier  and Ms. Leigh.   I also have to confess that I read only about the first hundred and fifty pages of  the cradle to grave alternating biographies of these two extraordinary actors.   The narrative style is heavy,  dense with facts and including lots and lots of direct quotations– attributed to diaries, letters and interviews.   There are many photographs of people both famous and humble whom Olivier and Leigh come into contact with.

Unfortunately,  this narrative  style is not at all easy to read.  While there are as I said a great many direct quotations the text reads more like a graduate school paper than a gossipy biography.  While Damn You, Scarlett O’Hara  may be of interest and of use to scholars of Olivier and Leigh’s lives and eras, I believe it will be of little if any interest to movie goers and fans.   Not Recommended.

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