Woman Crush Wednesday: Merle Oberon


I have a thing for Merle Oberon that’s almost as intense as my thing for Helen Mirren. She’s my Silver Screen Girlfriend, the one who I keep coming back to time and again to just sit and stare at because she’s just so damn pretty. She also happened to have starred in quite a few amazingly costumed films in the period between 1930 and 1955, opposite some serious actors such as Leslie Howard, Marlon Brando, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. And yet, I feel like she’s not as well-known today among people of my generation and younger. I happened to discover her by accident and only after the fact did I realize that she had played such famous roles as Cathy in Wuthering Heights, George Sand in A Song to Remember, and Joséphine de Beauharnais in Désirée.

So let’s get re-acquainted with her and all of her fabulous historical costume flicks!


The Private Life Of Henry VIII (1933) – Anne Boleyn

Costumes by John Armstrong.

Merle Oberon - Anne Boleyn - The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) merle-oberon-anne-boleyn-private-life-of-henry-viii


The Private Life of Don Juan (1934) – Antonia

Costumes by Oliver Messel.

The Private Life of Don Juan (1934)

Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

The Private Life of Don Juan (1934) The Private Life of Don Juan (1934)

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) – Lady Blakeney

Costumes by John Armstrong.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)

I, Claudius (1937) – Messalina

Costumes by John Armstrong.

I, Claudius (1937)


Wuthering Heights (1939) – Cathy

Costumes by Omar Kiam.

Wuthering Heights (1939) Wuthering Heights (1939) Wuthering Heights (1939)

The Lodger (1944) – Kitty Langley

Costumes by René Hubert.

The Lodger (1944) The Lodger (1944)


A Song to Remember (1945) – George Sand

Costumes by Walter Plunkett.

A Song to Remember (1945) A Song to Remember (1945) A Song to Remember (1945) A Song to Remember (1945)


Temptation (1946) – Ruby

Costumes by Orry-Kelly.

Temptation (1946) Temptation (1946) Temptation (1946)


Désirée (1954) – Joséphine de Beauharnais

Costumes by René Hubert and Charles Le Maire.

Désirée (1954) Désirée (1954) Désirée (1954) Désirée (1954)

How long have you adored Merle Oberon? Make Sarah feel inadequate for only having just discovered her in the comments below!

3 Responses

  1. Susan Pola

    My favourite role, Jane Seymour not withstanding, was Lady Blakeney followed by Josephine in Desiree. Have you read the bio/novel (not sure) by Michael Korda? It’s enjoyable.

  2. Abigail Tyrrell

    Check out the novel Queenie and the TV mini series from 1987. They were written by her nephew and is loosely based upon her life story as a mixed raced woman making it in Hollywood.

  3. Terri

    I first remember encountering her after devouring everything I could find on Vivien Leigh, since she was married to Alexander Korda, Leigh’s agent. When I realized she was Marguerite in Scarlet Pimpernel I started researching her. What a life, what an amazing woman. Loved her as Anne Boleyn, Josephine, Cathy, George Sand, and of course Marguerite.