Like many geniuses, Peter Brook has his share of nerve. While a student at Oxford, he had worked his way into being President of the University Film Society-which he had himself revived-and became Britain's youngest film director. J. C. Trewin describes what happened:

He had chosen a full-length treatment of Laurence Sterne's "traveling fancy," A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy. Sacha Guitry's mimeodramatic technique in Le Roman D'un Tricheur had impressed him, so

the script had no dialogue, merely a commentary extracted from the book and spoken as if by Sterne himself, with a background of eighteenth century music. [This is also, it should be noted, a good idea for making a film on a severe budget, live sound being much more expensive.] Character parts, as in Russian films, were played by ordinary folk recruited from Oxford pubs and haunts. Improvising gallantly on a budget of £250-the unit had to take a garden truck as a trolley-Brook shot his exteriors in Oxford and the nearby country, at Abingdon, and at Woodstock in Blenheim Park. The problem of interiors he solved after going to see John Gielgud's Haymarket revival of Love for Love. Calling at Gielgud's dressing-room, he asked tentatively if he might use the set for his film, Gielgud agreed, and the unit came into the theatre for some rapid work. Unhappily, because the film was made on short lengths of raw 16 mm stock, [there were wartime restrictions on such things] each roll of which reacted to printing in a different way, A Sentimental Journey could not be shown in an ordinary cinema, and when it had its premiere at the Oxford Union, the hall was the wrong size, diminishing the images while disconcertingly magnifying the sound. Still, within two months, the film had a London showing at the Torch.