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A fascinating film find



It's May 21, 1934. Carole Lombard, attending a polo match near Los Angeles, awards trophies, and two of the recipients are fellow actors Leslie Howard, left, and Will Rogers.

All three would die in aviation accidents within a decade.

Lombard never made a film with Howard, a reliable leading man who will always be best known for portraying Ashley Wilkes in "Gone With The Wind," but it's entirely possible she might be found as part of five hours of film footage discovered in the home of Howard's 82-year-old daughter, Leslie Ruth "Doodie" Howard, and to be used as part of an upcoming documentary on the actor.

Part of the footage includes a polo match -- whether it was this particular one is unknown, but supposedly those attending that day included Cary Grant, Gary Cooper and Mary Pickford -- and footage shot at Hearst Castle, another regular Lombard haunt, with Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., among others.



What else is there? It's believed Howard and Myrna Loy, who worked together in "The Animal Kingdom," had an affair. Film here taken on the set shows him flirting with Loy; other footage finds him doing likewise with Norma Shearer.

Plus, there's also footage of Howard with his family, showing a warmth only hinted at his largely reserved acting work.

Howard, who had been active in British war work, was among 13 passengers killed by the Luftwaffe on a flight from Lisbon to Bristol, England, on June 1, 1943. A 7-year-old boy had given up his seat so Howard -- a key figure in the UK war effort -- could make it back to England. The boy, now in his seventies, has been interviewed for the 90-minute documentary on Howard, to be called "The Man Who Gave A Damn." It's being produced by Warners, making it likely that Turner Classic Movies will air it at one time or another. Learn more at http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/sep/12/leslie-howard-found-footage.

To close, here's the entire photograph taken at that polo match, as well as another. Others in the photos include Spencer Tracy and Johnny Mack Brown.

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