Leslie Howard’s return to Hollywood (1932)
It’s my hunch that before there are many more full moons at Malibu, movie-goers will be fed up with those all too obvious he-men types and that Leslie Howard will open the door to a new school.
So Katherine Albert closed her article about Leslie Howard’s return to Hollywood, on the August 1932 issue of Photoplay magazine. “I’ll wager that it won’t be very long before being a gentleman will be a better movie trick than being a so-called he-man.”
When Leslie Howard left Hollywood after his first films, thousands of fans wrote to Photoplay and other movie magazines asking for his return. After a few films, he had already become a star; he was the gentleman lover, the sensitive soul who combined “charm with his ardor.”
Katherine Albert’s article is a clever analysis of the Leslie Howard phenomenon, so sudden and unexpected that it took even the movie moguls by surprise. “The picture executives were, to put it mildly, flabbergasted, for none of them had spotted Leslie as the type to promote palpitations of the feminine heart. The vigorous face-slapping Gables, Cagneys, George Brents et al. were the accepted type. These young bloods were riding the crest of the cinema wave. Howard was their direct antithesis–a gentleman both on and off screen (a British gentleman, at that) and a stage actor more subtle than spectacular.”