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Starring Diana Dors
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Starring Diana Dors - 3/30


In the 1950s, Diana Dors was England's entry into the ranks of blonde bombshells inspired by the popularity of Marilyn Monroe, as well as such Hollywood pinups as Jayne Mansfield, Mamie Van Doren and Sheree North. In addition to her notoriety as a "party girl," Dors won recognition as a capable actress and a witty, provocative television personality. Her career encompassed 30-plus years and some 100 credits, most of them in British films and TV.

Dors was born Diana Mary Fluck in 1931 in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. After studying at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts, she entered movies while still in her teens and had a small role in the celebrated 1948 Oliver Twist. At her voluptuous peak in the '50s, she was featured in films with such provocative titles as Man Bait (1952) and Young and Willing (1954).

Dors made a few films in Hollywood including the film noir The Unholy Wife (1957), opposite Rod Steiger, and the comedy I Married a Woman (1958), costarring George Gobel. She moved into supporting roles in the 1960s and '70s in such films as Danger Route (1967), Joan Crawford's Berserk! (1967) and There's a Girl in My Soup (1970). Her final film was Steaming (1985), released the year after her death from cancer.

Here are the films in our tribute to Diana Dors, all released in the 1950s:
Lady Godiva Rides Again (1952), known in the U.S. as Bikini Baby, is an English comedy with Pauline Stroud in the leading role as a small-town girl who plays Lady Godiva in a pageant after winning a beauty contest. Dors has a smaller role as another beauty queen, but the film's advertising concentrated on her, awarding her star billing since she was rising to fame. A number of other soon-to-be-famous actresses also appear, including Joan Collins, Kay Kendall, Dana Wynter and Anne Heywood.

Yield to the Night (1956), also known as Blonde Sinner, is a British crime drama that was considered one of Dors' best starring vehicles, with an attention-getting script plus direction by J. Lee Thompson (The Guns of Navarone). Dors stars as a woman who has been convicted of murder and sentenced to hang. The story has some resemblance to the case of Ruth Ellis, a model who was convicted of murdering her boyfriend and became the last woman to be hanged in the United Kingdom. Coincidentally, Ellis had a small role in Lady Godiva Rides Again.

The Long Haul (1957) is an English film noir with American star Victor Mature playing an ex-serviceman who settles in Liverpool with his British wife (Gene Anderson). He takes a job as a trucker, then begins a relationship with a racketeer's moll (Dors). The movie was written and directed by Ken Hughes and is another of Dors' more well-received efforts. DVD Talk describes it as a "completely satisfying British B-noir...handled with cold professional skill," adding that "The performers are perfectly cast."

by Roger Fristoe
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