Are Great Lovers Too Old At 40? (1936)

Are Great Lovers Too Old at 40?

Gossip …. by The Nomad

“I don’t mind admitting that I’m getting older….” The speaker was Leslie Howard, the personification of everything that is romantic, and tender and true.
At the moment, at the age of 43, he is delighting all London by his playing of Romeo in the screen version of “Romeo and Juliet.” Yet, though Romeo was a youth, who put fire and ardent passion into his love-making, there is something about Howard’s portrayal that is compelling in its intensity, its very picture of the loyal, considerate type of husband about whom all women dream.
Which makes me ask: “Is a lover too old at forty?”
Would, for instance, women really prefer to see a callow youth, as depicted by Shakespeare, in this character? Even though he would not give them that sense of reliability?
I doubt it.

Growing Family

Yet listen to Leslie Howard continuing: “I am through playing romantic parts. I am certainly too old to portray the character of a juvenile lover… As an actor I am getting older; naturally my roles must change. I am a father, with a growing son and daughter, and it is far from easy to convince in a part which would probably more suitable for my son.”
Time, you see, marches on– in real life as well as in reel life.
What then, of the future for this actor whose popularity on both sides of the Atlantic shows no sign whatever of diminishing? Whose popularity, in fact, is rather on the increase.

When He retires

“I will turn to characterizations that better suit a man of my age,” he says. “I shall always stick to the theatre, but some day it is probable I shall retire from acting altogether, in favour of other ends of the business.” The sage, in Howard’s view, is the real medium of expression; the screen, he contends, is entirely the director’s.

Howard’s view on actress are interesting.
“Every leading woman can be– and is, for me– a perfect leading lady. Variety is not only the salt of life but also of the drama. I would never want the same woman as a leading lady over and over again. Like all change, the different characteristics and personalities are stimulating.”
But if you are wondering, in view of these thoughts on actresses, what Leslie thinks of women in general… well, that’s a different matter entirely and he refused to be draw, axcept to say: “They are still a compete mystery to me.” […]

Leslie Howard as Romeo

Leslie Howard, at 43, has made a great hit as Romeo,
the love-sick youth

(Film Pictorial, November 7, 1936)