Review: ‘The Gentle Sex’

Story concerns the personalities of seven girls, drawn from various grades of society, who join the ATS (women's army) and go through the routine of breaking in before being sent to different posts. At crucial moments the girls prove themselves as brave and heroic as the male contingent, and the film ends with a toast to 'the women'. This is spoken by an unprogrammed commentator. The voice is Leslie Howard's, who also directed and co-produced.

Story concerns the personalities of seven girls, drawn from various grades of society, who join the ATS (women’s army) and go through the routine of breaking in before being sent to different posts. At crucial moments the girls prove themselves as brave and heroic as the male contingent, and the film ends with a toast to ‘the women’. This is spoken by an unprogrammed commentator. The voice is Leslie Howard’s, who also directed and co-produced.

Palpably a propaganda war picture, there is plenty of comedy, which savors a little too much of crosstalk wise-cracking. Direction and production are intelligent and artistic, but the basic plot is too one-keyish.

Cast, even to the smallest bit parts, deserves commendation. The two outstanding characterizations are those handled by Lilli Palmer and Rosamund John. Palmer enacts a Czech refugee whose family was manhandled by the Nazist, and John is a Scot with a delicious and easily understood dialect. But it is Palmer, in an emotional role delicately and subtly played, who has the best opportunities.

The Gentle Sex

UK

Production

Two Cities/Concanen. Director Leslie Howard; Producer Leslie Howard; Screenplay Mole Charles; Camera Cyril Knowles, Ray Sturges

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1943. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Joan Gates Joan Greenwood Jean Gillie Rosamund John Lilli Palmer
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