The Gentle Sex

The Gentle Sex is a 1943 British, black-and-white romantic comedy-drama war film, directed and narrated by Leslie Howard. It was produced by Concanen Productions, Two Cities Films and Derrick de Marney.[1] The Gentle Sex was Howard's last film before his death.[2]

The Gentle Sex
Directed byLeslie Howard
Produced byDerrick de Marney
Written byMoie Charles [1]
additional dialogue:
Aimée Stuart
StarringJoan Gates
Jean Gillie
Joan Greenwood
Joyce Howard
Rosamund John
Lilli Palmer
John Justin
Narrated byLeslie Howard
Music byJohn D. H. Greenwood
CinematographyRobert Krasker
Edited byCharles Saunders
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors
Release date
15 April 1943
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


The documentary-drama follows seven women from different backgrounds who meet at an Auxiliary Territorial Service training camp. "Gentle" British girls, they are now doing their bit to help out in World War II: driving lorries and manning ack-ack batteries. Leslie Howard provides ironic narration throughout the film.[3][4]


Best source is at BFI:

ATS volunteers

Other characters

Critical reception

TV Guide noted "some lucid and funny moments in a capable and intelligent production for its time";[5] and Billy Mowbray wrote, for Film 4, "if only social history was this good at school. Funny, fascinating and probably unlike any film you've seen before, The Gentle Sex is a bona fide cultural treasure." [6]


Further reading

  • Lejeune, C. A. (1947) Chestnuts in her Lap. London: "Mädchen in Uniform: The Gentle Sex", pp. 95–96

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