Robbo Mills writes, "Here's the poster for the 1941 film 'Mister V,' directed by and starring Leslie Howard. I love the look of it with his defiant pose and the big red iconic V. Mister V was the title used for the US release of the film. It's best known by the original British title: 'Pimpernel Smith' – being a riff on a previous Leslie Howard film 'The Scarlett Pimpernel.'
Howard himself is better known as Ashley Wilkes in "Gone With The Wind" – but his work as a propagandist for Britain during the war leaves us with much more than faux Hollywood southern charm. Long before Alan Moore's "V For Vendetta" and Ken Johnson's mini-series "V", there was this film that set the stage for inspiring resistance so necessary during WWII. Raoul Wallenberg credited Pimpernel Smith with prompting him to engage in the rescue of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Nazi Holocaust.
Yes, there's a lot that's quaint and dated about any black & white film from the early half of the previous century – but the core, the heart, of this film still beats like a drum calling others to action. And Howard's soliloquy near the end when he has been captured and is about to be shot – still sends chills running down my spine.
The film is in the public domain and freely available all over the interwebs including Archive.org and the YouToobs.
Enjoy – and resist.