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The Gentle Sex (1943) More at IMDbPro »


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Moie Charles (original story and screenplay)
Aimée Stuart (additional dialogue)
View company contact information for The Gentle Sex on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
23 May 1943 (UK) See more »
This film tells the stories of seven 'gentle' British girls who decide to "do their bit" and help out during World War II. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Joyce Howard obituary
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 29 December 2010, 4:00 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
Women will enjoy it more than men See more (14 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Joan Gates ... Gwen Hayden
Jean Gillie ... Dot Hopkins

Joan Greenwood ... Betty Miller
Joyce Howard ... Anne Lawrence
Rosamund John ... Maggie Fraser

Lilli Palmer ... Erna Debruski
Barbara Waring ... Joan Simpson
John Justin ... Flying Officer David Sheridan
Elliott Mason ... Mrs. Fraser (as Elliot Mason)
Tony Bazell ... Ted (as Anthony Bazell)
Frederick Leister ... Colonel Lawrence
Everley Gregg ... Miss Simpson

John Laurie ... Scots Corporal
Mary Jerrold ... Mrs. Sheridan
Meriel Forbes ... Junior Commander Davis
Noreen Craven ... Convoy Sergeant
Miles Malleson ... Guard
Jimmy Hanley ... 1st Soldier
Frederick Peisley ... 2nd Soldier (as Frederich Peisley)
Ronald Shiner ... Racegoer (as Ronnie Shiner)
Harry Welchman ... Captain Ferrier
Rosalyn Boulter ... Telephonist

Leslie Howard ... Narrator (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Grace Arnold ... (uncredited)
Frank Atkinson ... Restaurant Customer (uncredited)
Claude Bailey ... Staff Officer (uncredited)
Clifford Buckton ... (uncredited)
Peter Cotes ... Taffy (uncredited)
Amy Dalby ... Lady Behind the Bar at the Dance (uncredited)
Richard George ... Naval Officer (uncredited)
Roland Pertwee ... Captain (uncredited)
Johnnie Schofield ... Sgt in Dance Cafe (uncredited)
Nicholas Stuart ... British Officer (uncredited)

Directed by
Leslie Howard 
Maurice Elvey (uncredited)
Writing credits
Moie Charles (original story and screenplay)

Aimée Stuart (additional dialogue) (as Aimee Stuart)

Doris Langley Moore ("Observations of a Mere Man" written by)

Elizabeth Baron  uncredited
Roland Pertwee  uncredited

Produced by
Derrick De Marney .... producer (as Derrick de Marney)
Leslie Howard .... producer
Original Music by
John Greenwood 
Cinematography by
Robert Krasker (lighting cameraman)
Film Editing by
Charles Saunders 
Casting by
Irene Howard (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Carmen Dillon 
C.P. Norman 
Paul Sheriff (supervising art director)
Makeup Department
Marjorie Whittle .... assistant hair stylist (uncredited)
Production Management
Vincent Permane .... production manager (as Vincent Permaine)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Cecil Gurney .... assistant director
Sound Department
Charles Tasto .... sound mixer
A.W. Watkins .... recording director (as A.W Watkins)
Visual Effects by
Derick Williams .... special effects cameraman (as Derek Williams)
Camera and Electrical Department
Cyril J. Knowles .... camera operator (as Cyril Knowles)
Ray Sturgess .... camera operator
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... conductor
Other crew
Geoffrey Boothby .... associate director
Adrian Brunel .... production consultant
Senior Commander Pratt .... military advisor
Renée Glynne .... assistant production secretary (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
92 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Australia:G | Finland:S | Sweden:15 | UK:U | UK:U (tv rating) | UK:U (video rating) (1997)

Did You Know?

Leslie Howard's last role.See more »
Continuity: The locomotive pulling the carriages from the Southern Railway London terminus where the women board, is a different class locomotive seen later in the film prior to their arrival at the Army base.See more »
Narrator:That dispatch rider... I keep forgetting it's a girl.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in War Stories (2006) (TV)See more »
Don't Dilly DallySee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
7 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
Women will enjoy it more than men, 6 June 2003
Author: Godfrey Flush (heebie_jeebies) from Melbourne, Australia

This film follows the experiences of seven women who find themselves together in the Auxillary Territorial Services during the war. The film begins at a train station where the narrator picks out six young women at random. These six ladies - charming but indistinguishable to me - end up in the same carriage of a train on their way to their base. The seventh, Gwen Hayden, joins the others as the train is about to depart. It's a promising start - we eagerly anticipate what will happen to these seven ladies throughout the course of the war. We assume that they'll all end up going their separate ways, but will perhaps reunite at the end of the war, having each been through some unique and fascinating experiences.

Unfortunately, nothing much happens to any of them. They arrive at their base, engage in some vacuous conversation, and then it's on with the mundane duties of the Auxillary Territorial Services. The first fifteen minutes or so after they arrive is basically a montage of footage showing the ladies and their colleagues being regimented by their superiors, during marching practise and so on, and contains very little entertainment value, except for a couple of attempted visual jokes, including one lady soldier who turns the wrong way and ends up marching away from all the others.

Perhaps the problem with the rest of the film is that it's a little too honest. There's no drama and there are no complications - just a group of ladies fulfilling the mundane duties of lorry driving, drilling and manning ack-ack batteries, and prattling on in between. The almost complete lack of male characters makes the conversation even more intolerable. Occasionally the characters ponder the purpose of the war and what they're really fighting for, but their discourse fails to scale any great philosophical heights. There's a melodramatic spiel by a French woman in the middle of the film, in which she tells some of our British ladies about what the Nazis did to her father and brother, but it fails to stir us amidst the jollility of life in the Services. Rather, it seems like a contrived attempt by the scriptwriters to provide some semblance of drama.

The only other drama that occurs - in fact, one of the few events that occurs in this basically plotless film - happens towards the end of the film, but unfortunately it is too little too late. This film is nothing more than a slice of British life during the war. None of the seven ladies embark on any great adventures, they never experience the hardships of war and since the film only scratches the surface of its seven main characters, at the end one is left feeling as though we hardly know them any better than we did when we first met them at the train station. Women will probably enjoy this film more than men, but there is really nothing in it to make it worthy of recommendation.

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