Tom and Viv (1994)

 

 

 

Director:    Brian Gilbert.

Starring:    Willem Dafoe (Tom Eliot), Miranda Richardson (Vivienne Haigh-Wood), Rosemary Harris (Rose Haigh-Wood), Tim Dutton (Maurice Haigh-Wood), Nickolas Grace (Bertrand Russel), Geoffrey Bayldon (Harwent), Clare Holman (Louise Purdon), Philip Locke (Charles Haigh-Wood), Joanna McCallum (Virginia Woolf), Joseph O'Conor (Bishop of Oxford), John Savident (Sir Frederick Lamb), Michael Attwell (W.I. Janes), Sharon Bower (Secretary), Linda Spurrier (Edith Sitwell), Roberta Taylor (Ottoline Morrell).

Based on the play by Michael Hastings, the film deals with the relationship between the poet T. S. Eliot and his mentally ill socialite wife Vivienne Haigh-Wood.  She continually embarrasses her husband in public with her antics and outrages with her manic moods and then sinks into depression (possible bipolar illness?)  She is placed in a mental institution, Northumberland House, London.

 

 

 

Spoiler Warning:

 

 

 

 


Historical Background:

 

1888  -- born Thomas Stearns Eliot in Missouri. Lives in St. Louis during the first eighteen years of his life.

At Harvard University he earns an undergraduate and masters degrees. Contributes several poems to the Harvard Advocate.

1910  --  studies at the Sorbonne in Paris.

1911  -- returns to Harvard to study for a Ph.D.

1914  --  settles in England.

1915  --  marries Vivienne Haigh-Wood; works in London as a teacher and then for Lloyd's Bank.

1915  --  Poet Ezra Pound assists him to publish his poetry, especially "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock".

1917  -- publishes his first book of poems, Prufrock and Other Observations.

1922  -- publishes The Waste Land, reflecting disillusionment following the bloody carnage of World War I.  Becomes a dominant figure in poetry and literary criticism.

1927  -- becomes a British citizen.

1930  - publishes Ash Wednesday.

1933  --  with a very unhappy marriage, he divorces his first wife.

late 1930s  -- he converts to orthodox Christianity and his poetry reflects this.

1934  -- publishes After Strange Gods.

1940  -- publishes Notes Towards the Definition of Culture.

1943  --  publishes Four Quartets.

1948  -- receives the Nobel Prize for Literature.

1956  -- marries Valerie Fletch, his second wife.

1965  -- dies in London.


 

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