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The Real Pimpernel Smith: Leslie Howard and his contribution to the British War Effort, 1939-1943

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Determined to serve his country in any way possible, English actor/director/producer Leslie Howard left Hollywood to return to his country as Britain entered the Second World War. He soon created a series of propaganda films that he wrote, directed, produced and/or starred in, and featured on many BBC radio programs hoping to inspire the Commonwealth and Americans to action in the war. This thesis examines the variety of ways in which Howard tried to improve morale and influence the war effort. Utilizing the Mass Observation archive, evidence is gathered to look beyond box office numbers to focus on the reactions of the people he reached with his films and radio speeches before and after his tragic death in 1943. A holistic analysis of Howard's war work demonstrates that Howard worked as a cultural broker between England and America in defending liberal democracy against totalitarian regimes.
89 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Craig, John
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