LESLIE HOWARD: New Documentary


A documentary about the life and career of LESLIE HOWARD (1893-1943) has been made and I would love to see it.
But a TV screening or a DVD release is not yet in sight.

This 84 minute film has been years in the making and there are some excerpts available to watch on You Tube.

Director,Thomas Hamilton,on the website http://themanwhogaveadamn.com illustrates how much it costs to show a film clip – £17 a SECOND for First Of The Few, and £51 per SECOND for Pygmalion.

The film makers had the cooperation of Leslie Howard’s  daughter,Leslie Ruth who had kept cans of film belonging to her father in her basement. These included home movies and behind the scenes on some of his films.

Leslie Howard,Wendy Hiller.PYGMALION

Leslie Howard,Wendy Hiller.PYGMALION


As well as Leslie Ruth ( who has since died), also interviewed on the documentary is Norman Spencer who was Leslie’s assistant director from 1941 to 1943.

And ,amazingly, also interviewed is Derek Partridge , who, as a seven year old, was due to be on the plane that was leaving Lisbon for Bristol on 1st June,1943.

Derek explained – “Some crew members asked us if we would vacate our seats because two V.I.P.’s needed to travel urgently………he (Leslie Howard) saved my life that day.”

Derek also narrates the film.

Leslie was in fact booked to fly later that day but wanted to get back to the UK as soon as possible.

17 lives were lost when Flight 777 was shot down by the Luftwaffe over the Bay  of Biscay. This was a  civilian plane on a scheduled flight. Theories have been put forward for it being targeted but the Foreign Office files are still classified .

Leslie Howard was  known for his anti-Nazi propaganda ,both in films and in broadcasting. Was he the reason the plane was shot down?


The film was shown in August,2015 at the Chichester International Film Festival, and a further screening will be held at London’s Regent Street Cinema on 17th.December,2015, with a Q&A with the director afterwards.

From what I’ve seen, this would be ideal for TCM and I hope they may consider showing it – which might lead to a DVD release.


2 responses »

  1. My mum and brother are going to see this at the Regent Street Cinema tonight – I’ll let you know what they think. Sounds really good.

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