15 user 2 critic

The Gentle Sex (1943)

This film tells the stories of seven 'gentle' British girls who decide to "do their bit" and help out during World War II.


Leslie Howard, Maurice Elvey (uncredited)


Moie Charles (original story and screenplay), Aimée Stuart (additional dialogue) (as Aimee Stuart) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Gates 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 Barbara Waring ... Joan Simpson
John Justin ... Flying Officer David Sheridan
Elliott Mason Elliott Mason ... Mrs. Fraser (as Elliot Mason)
Tony Bazell Tony Bazell ... Ted (as Anthony Bazell)
Frederick Leister Frederick Leister ... Colonel Lawrence
Everley Gregg Everley Gregg ... Miss Simpson
John Laurie ... Scots Corporal
Mary Jerrold Mary Jerrold ... Mrs. Sheridan
Meriel Forbes Meriel Forbes ... Junior Commander Davis


During the War seven women from very different backgrounds find themselves together in the Auxiliary Territorial Services. They are soon drilling, driving lorries, and manning ack-ack batteries. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

propaganda | world war two | See All (2) »


Comedy | Drama | Romance | War


See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 May 1943 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

7 flickor See more »

Filming Locations:

Carlisle, Cumbria, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Leslie Howard's last role. See more »


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 »

Crazy Credits

Prologue following opening credits: "Woman, when I behold thee, flippant, vain, inconstant, childish, proud and full of fancies" (spoken by Leslie Howard) See more »


Featured in War Stories (2006) See more »


Nellie Dean
Written by Harry Armstrong
See more »

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User Reviews

An unusual British wartime film
23 November 2003 | by jcurrie58See all my reviews

I saw this film recently on TV, and although social attitudes have changed drastically and is a tad patronising, it's still a worthy entry in the "soldiers going through training" film. What is unusual about it is that it concentrates on women rather than men. British films at the time (and for quite a few years afterwards) were male dominated. The recruits are a mixed bunch: Betty Miller (Joan Greenwood), the youngest, has never been away from home before or done anything for herself and is desperately homesick; Dot Hopkins (Jean Gillie)who wants to do something different; Erna the refugee (Lilly Palmer); Maggie Fraser (Rosamond John) the friendly Scottish girl, who never stops eating; Anne Lawrence (Joyce Howard) who is from a service family who knows what she has to do and is the beauty of the group. Joan Simpson (Barbara Waring), who is sharp tongued and stand-offish but who turns out to be as lonely as the rest of them and Gwen Haydon(Joan Gates) the cheery Cockney girl. Although I found the film enjoyable, I would like to have known more about the background of the recruits. Rosamond John's Scottish accent was unconvincing, though her performance was fine. And was Joan Simpson meant to be a lesbian? She showed her disdain for men throughout and the lady who saw her off at the railway station was very affectionate towards her, though she is listed in the credits as "Miss Simpson", although no reference to their being related was never made clear. Joyce Howard is lovely with a warm, friendly personality. I had never heard of her before and wondered if she was a relation to Leslie Howard, the director? And how any stretch of the imagination could John Laurie (the soldier who dances with Maggie) be referred to as "young", as Leslie Howard did in the final narration? He must have be 45 if he was a day. However, it was nice to see him with a smile on his face for a change. All in all, a good entry in the British wartime film genre.

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