Leslie Howard Discusses Love With ‘News’ Reporter (1937)

Leslie Howard Discusses Love With ‘News’ Reporter

by May Mann

It isn’t often you can sit down and discuss “love” (a favorite subject of all women) with the greatest lover of the screen. When we confer that title on Leslie Howard we are speaking of an actor who brings such a fine interpretation, and who brings all the finer emotions to the surface in the building of his love scenes on the cinema screen.
He is a lover whose personality reflects both boyishness and a certain sophistication; whose eyes are those of the dreamer, the idealist; who places all women on a high pedestal of reverence and adoration, and who makes his ideals become realities. When we see the Leslie Howard of “Romeo and Juliet” and that never-to-be-forgotten “Smilin’ Through,” we glimpse a being whose artistic nature is truly great.
It was almost a year ago that we discussed “love” with Leslie Howard. However, don’t be mistaken–there were others present! He was working at the time in “Painted Desert” and waiting call on the set. Overhead hung a blue sky studded with stars and a glimmering yellow moon cast golden reflections on the sand of the desert–and all this beauty was unreal. It was inside a huge sound stage. And equally unreal was the sudden appearance of Leslie Howard, who came strolling by, thoughtfully enjoying the peace and serenity of the setting.

Setting Ideal

He sat down to chat for a few moments, and somehow the hour and the time and place were just right to ask him his ideas on love and the types of women preferable to him. Perhaps another day–another occasion and we’d hardly dared venture these thoughts to Mr. Howard, who after all is not only a great star but representative of centuries of conservative English culture and family background.
Leslie Howard has held many glamorous, beautiful women of the theatrical world in his arms in the films and on the stage. To thousands of women he represents the romance they read about in the books; to the very young, romance yet to come; to the older, romance that once was theirs. To the skeptical, romance is only for the young, the very foolish. To the more normal mind, the entire world is filled with beauty and love, and those whose souls are in tune are appreciative.
“I love all women; I love womankind,” said Mr. Howard. He spoke in the beautiful low-controlled voice, with diction so perfect that even as he speaks, one closes the eyes and sees Romeo and his Juliet and the other great sweethearts renowned down through the ages. And as Leslie talked we could understand his interpretation of love. Perhaps it is most manifest in his devotion to his wife, and to his son and his daughter. Then again, aside from this family devotion we might glimpse into his soul and see hidden there the many portrayals of great lovers that Leslie Howard has given to the world through the medium of the stage and screen.

Great Painter Quoted

Perhaps in these words of a great painter is to be found an explanation for Leslie Howard’s regard for and reverence towards womankind: ‘In the love of a good woman you have everything, all the wonders of the ages, the brown skinned girls who inflame your senses with their play, the cool, yellow-haired women who entice and escape you; the gentle ones who serve you; the slender ones who torment you; the mothers who bore and suckled you–all women whom God created out of the teeming fullness of the earth are yours in the love of one woman.”
And while Mr. Howard talked in the wonderfully modulated voice a spell of romance seemed to weave itself and englamor the studio set–which after all was only a blue curtain sky with silver paper hung stars and tons of sand over a wooden floor with gentle breezes coming from a wind blowing machine. But somehow it seemed very real.

(The Deseret News, January 30, 1937)