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The Anti-Nazi Film Made Possible By A "Gone With The Wind" Contractual Obligation! Leslie Howard's 1941 Recreation Of "The Scarlet Pimpernel"!
Leslie Howard is one of those rare individuals for whom one's principles were as important as life itself or anything in it. In his life, fame and success were his in good measure, but he consistently chose to work those projects that he felt were worthy rather than those that were strictly lucrative. When he was called upon to perform the role of Ashley Wilkes in Gone With The Wind, he was very reticent to accept, and when he did so it was in large part dependant on his being given the money and resources to make Pimpernel Smith as a weapon in the propaganda war against Nazi Germany. Pimpernel Smith reprises Howard's celebrated role as The Scarlet Pimpernel, only in this drama he's a Professor of Archeology who spirits the great and the good of Germany away from the clutches of the Gestapo. Howard's film, as well as his The First Of The Few aka Spitfire!, were very effective propaganda weapons, so much so that in 1943 the Germans hunted him down over neutral airspace in the Bay of Biscayne and shot down the passenger liner in which they knew he was a passenger (B&W, 2:10).
Anatole de Grunwald
Leslie Howard .... Professor Horatio Smith
Francis Sullivan .... General von Graum
Mary Morris .... Ludmilla Koslowski
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