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A Leslie Howard Thang, Post #14 - Laura Wise

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May 28th, 2015


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12:13 pm - A Leslie Howard Thang, Post #14
(Still cold-or-allergy-ridden. We persevere.)

Last night I watched for the first time Intermezzo, a 1938/1939 remake of the 1936 Swedish film of the same name. It's a classic melodrama about adultery, starring the divine Leslie Howard as the violinist hero whose marriage breaks up when he meets a much younger pianist, played by Ingrid Bergman. (She played the same role in the Swedish original.)


I'm almost surprised the film was made, considering the way it skirts the moral boundaries of the Hays Code: the Bergman character, after several joyous months with Our Hero, learns that she's won a scholarship to a Paris conservatory, and, realizing that her time with him is destined to be short anyway, goes off to follow her career; Howard's character, after yearning for her in a v. short montage to represent months, goes back home to his family, where after a terrifically convenient car runs over his daughter, he feels like shit until his daughter recovers and his wife takes him back. The End. No one is really punished, and life goes on.

It's a beautifully shot film, with Howard at his absolute glowing peak of masculine beauty. David Thomson in A Biographical Dictionary of Film (Third Edition) says that the film is "as generous to him [Howard] as Gone with the Wind was unflattering" -- which is a positive endorsement coming from Thomson, who otherwise sneers at Howard's "whey-faced" looks throughout the entry. Whey-faced! What the actual hell!

Exhibit A: a still from Intermezzo, from the romping-adulterously-in-Cannes portion of the film: Mr Howard and Ms Bergman smiling at each other in perfect profile, with a lock of Howard's hair falling over his forehead to just make him look even more delicious.

Exhibit B: a publicity photo from 1933, wherein Mr Howard in black tie, Carole Lombard, and a sport-coated Gary Cooper hang out with a dog. Actually we're spoilt for choice with that pic, because Mr Howard AND Mr Cooper are re-defining gorgeousness there.

In various tributaries of the internet Mr Howard is often used as a visual for Lord Peter Wimsey (with the caveat that he's too tall and too conventionally attractive). I concur. It's a Leslie Howard Thang.

(That being said, I barely remember his turn as the weak-willed Ashley Wilkes in GWTW. It is heresy, I know, but I didn't like that movie at all and never plan to rewatch it.)

What beauty are you appreciating today? :)

May your day be full of things you love!

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:paratti
Date:May 28th, 2015 08:14 pm (UTC)
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The man has great bone structure:)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 28th, 2015 11:23 pm (UTC)
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You speak the truth!

Hugs, mate. :)
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From:gwynnega
Date:May 28th, 2015 09:18 pm (UTC)
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Leslie Howard famously hated the role of Ashley Wilkes. The first time I saw Gone With the Wind (when I was maybe eleven?), I thought he was gorgeous and didn't understand what the big deal was about Clark Gable. :-)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 28th, 2015 11:24 pm (UTC)
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I never got the Clark Gable thing except in It Happened One Night. But for reasons I can't explain (not even the really GOOD reasons re racism), I just did not like GWTW at all.

There are lots more effective ways to enjoy Leslie Howard. :)

Hugs! Hope you're still recovering well!
[User Picture]
From:anne_d
Date:May 29th, 2015 01:53 am (UTC)
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[hugs] and I hope you feel better soon.

Those photos - yowsa!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 29th, 2015 12:01 pm (UTC)
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The sneezing etc continues. We persevere. And Leslie Howard helps! :)

Hugs to you today!
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From:janus_74
Date:May 29th, 2015 01:02 pm (UTC)
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Intermezzo sounds like the kind of movie where it ends and the credits are rolling and I sit dumbfounded that things did not go to plan. Kind of like Roman Holiday.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 29th, 2015 03:18 pm (UTC)
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It is a bit odd, perhaps -- especially because it's really really short (only an hour and ten minutes). :)

Cheers for your Friday!
[User Picture]
From:roguedemon
Date:May 30th, 2015 06:43 am (UTC)
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The movie GWTW was a pale imitation of the book, which I always liked a lot. It's a fascinating character study as well as an extremely interesting look at the whole Lost Cause movement in the South and all the twisted elements of southern culture and thought. Scarlett is a true narcissist and a great antihero. And it's just a fun read. But the movie doesn't even come close to dealing with any of that. It was well cast though. Ashley Wilkes was a good-looking wimp and Leslie Howard nailed that aspect of the character. ;)

((Hugs))
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From:laurawise
Date:May 30th, 2015 12:04 pm (UTC)
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I think you've identified one of the many reasons I didn't like seeing Mr Howard as Ashley Wilkes! I love him best in roles where a dandy-ish or languid exterior is to cover the competent and focused man within. (Howard in real life fought in WWI and had to deal with shell-shock afterward, he was a bit of a rake, and he died in WWII in a plane crash, possibly shot down by the Germans because he was an Allied spy.)

Hugs!
[User Picture]
From:mobile_alh
Date:May 30th, 2015 08:50 pm (UTC)
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Ooh...like his Scarlet Pimpernel?
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 31st, 2015 12:52 pm (UTC)
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I like his Scarlet Pimpernel! But basically I'm on board with Howard when he's the lead. :) (Except for Romeo and Juliet with Norma Shearer, because oh honey no.)
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From:mobile_alh
Date:May 30th, 2015 08:49 pm (UTC)
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Lovely pictures...

Today i'm happily appreciating our hosts' garden at the peak of its bloom with masses of California poppies and stalks of iris everywhere, flowering thyme between the pacers and the railroad tie steps leading up the terraced slope...
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From:laurawise
Date:May 31st, 2015 12:52 pm (UTC)
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YAY for your visit and your garden appreciation! That sounds just gorgeous. :)

Cheers and hugs to you!

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