MovieChat Forums > The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) Discussion > Leslie Howard I Think You Are a GREAT AC...

Leslie Howard I Think You Are a GREAT ACTOR!

I think Leslie Howard's performance elevated this film from a run-of-the mill Hollywood costume drama, to the creation of something great. Howard's ability to turn a flat character into one the audience could sympathize with was legendary. Howard didn't appear to act when he displayed the fire that drew him to Oberon. Howard also brought much needed light sarcasm and comedic dimensions as well.

There are two other films I would like to mention, because the complete honesty of the performances made me forget to breathe. One is "Of Human Bondage" with Bette Davis. Also, of course, "Gone With the Wind." He gave outstanding performances in each film. His body of work is solid and that is a wonderful legacy for any actor.

Leslie Howard died too soon. In 1943 during World War II, he was on a commercial flight going from Portugal to the United Kingdom. The plane was shot down by the German Luftwaffe. Leslie Howard was one of seventeen deaths.

We can only speculate about the career he might have resumed once the war was over. But I think we lost a great talent and a good man.

"Wow. Our town has only had a Whole Foods for three weeks and we already have our first gay kids."


Howard is one of my favorite actors. His performance in "Pimpernel " was--I agree--what made this movie. So effortless and wonderful. His Henry Higgins in "Pygmalion," was wonderful and deserved the Oscar he was nominated for. Unfortunately, "Gone With the Wind" is the film most people know him from, although he was badly miscast and too old for the part in addition, he was miserable making the film, as England was getting into war and he wanted to get home.

Totally agree with you that his death was tragic and he was taken way too soon. I,too, wonder what he would have accomplished. He had begun directing and producing, and most certainly would have contributed greatly to the cinema. Instead, he left behind his son Ronald, who would become widely known as Sherlock Holmes, and his daughter Leslie Ruth, who was a writer. Both of his children wrote biographies of their father.


FYI--Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon had an affair while making this film. In his son's book, "In Search of My Father," Ronald Howard said it was an open secret.


Pygmalion is, of course, Howard's signature role - he is perfect as Higgins. But I am one of those (not many of us, seemingly) who is rather fond of his Ashley in GWTW... yes, he was too old for the part but he has a world-weary melancholy about him that fit the character quite well. I have never read the novel so I can't compare to Mitchell's Ashley but I think Howard;s work in the film is a little underrated.