Lady Godiva Rides Again

Lady Godiva Rides Again is a 1951 British comedy film starring Pauline Stroud, George Cole and Bernadette O'Farrell, with a variety of British "name" performers in supporting roles and cameo appearances, about a small-town English girl who wins a local beauty contest by appearing as Lady Godiva, then decides to pursue greater fame in a national beauty pageant and as an actress.

Lady Godiva Rides Again
Lady Godiva Rides Again FilmPoster.jpeg
retitled reissue pressbook cover
Directed byFrank Launder
Produced bySidney Gilliat
Written byFrank Launder
Val Valentine
StarringPauline Stroud
Dennis Price
Diana Dors
Music byWilliam Alwyn
CinematographyWilkie Cooper
Edited byThelma Connell
Production
company
Distributed byRank Organisation (UK)
Carroll Pictures (USA)
Release date
25 October 1951
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Box office£117,891 (UK)[1]

The film was released in the United States under its original title in 1953 by Carroll Pictures, then was re-released in the United States as Bikini Baby, to capitalize on the fame of supporting player Diana Dors, who was given star billing with the new title.

The film is most notable for the presence of actresses who were later to become famous. Diana Dors, who appears as a beauty queen, was later marketed as the film's star. It also features Joan Collins in her film debut as an uncredited beauty contestant. Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in England, also appears as an uncredited beauty queen. Ruth, who was four months pregnant at the time, had dyed her hair black and had styled it into a bob.

Other young starlets in the film included Diana Russell, Dana Wynter (billed as Dagmar Wynter), Anne Heywood (billed as Violet Pretty), Yvonne Brooks, Simone Silva, Jean Marsh and Pat Marlowe. It also featured Sid James in one of his first film roles. Trevor Howard has an uncredited cameo as a cinema patron.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

The film was inspired by the Miss Kent 1950 beauty competition held at Leas Cliff Hall in Kent. Frank Launder, joint producer of the film with Leslie Gilliatt, was one of the judges in the competition. Audrey Hepburn tested for the title role but was judged too thin.[2]

The film was originally called Beauty Queen.

The filmmakers reportedly tested over 500 women to play the lead role including Joan Collins and Audrey Hepburn. The actor picked was Pauline Stroud.[3] Her only previous film experience was as Vera-Ellen's stand-in in Happy Go Lovely (1951). Collins was given a bit part.

It was the first time John McCallum, who was Australian, played an Australian in a British film.[4] Kay Kendall was cast as Stroud's sister after Launder saw her in a BBC play; the film helped revive Kendall's career after London Town.[5][6]

Filming took place in June–July 1951.

The production filmed on location in Folkestone, Kent. The Leas Cliff Hall was used as the location for the beauty competition, and The Metropole was the setting for the seaside hotel hosting the Fascination Soap Pageant. Folkestone West station features in the film for the railway scenes where Marjorie Clark (Pauline Stroud) arrives and meets Dolores August (Diana Dors) and her consorts, Larry and Vic. The now closed Rotunda Amusement Park was also used for the scenes where Larry (John McCallum) and Marjorie visit and go on rides.[7]

Diana Dors appeared in a swimsuit in one scene. She shot two versions – one in a bikini for release in Europe, another in a more conservative swimsuit for release in America.[8]

US releaseEdit

American censors had a number of objections to the content of the film, mostly due to the revealing nature of outfits worn by Diana Dors.[9]

ReceptionEdit

Filmink said Dors "livens up every scene she appears in and her part is too small (she disappears in the second half); once again, the movie would have been better had Dors played the lead."[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p495
  2. ^ Paris, Barry (1 September 2001). Audrey Hepburn. Penguin. ISBN 978-0425182123.
  3. ^ "No title". The Courier-Mail (4491). Brisbane. 20 April 1951. p. 3. Retrieved 20 July 2020 – via National Library of Australia. Cite uses generic title (help)
  4. ^ "McCallum will play Australian in movie". The Sun (12, 867) (LATE FINAL EXTRA ed.). New South Wales, Australia. 26 April 1951. p. 38. Retrieved 20 July 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ Samson, Leonard (21 June 1952). "THE GIRL THEY ALL FORGOT: Meet Kay Kendall". Answers. 121 (3138). London. pp. 1–2.
  6. ^ MORGAN HUDGINS (31 July 1955). "GENEVIEVE'S' KAY KENDALL CLICKS". New York Times. p. X5.
  7. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Lady Godiva Rides Again Article".
  8. ^ "Fixing Macbeth's Accent for U.S." The Herald (23, 112). Victoria, Australia. 21 June 1951. p. 4. Retrieved 20 July 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "Film that shocked US". The Daily Telegraph. XVII (49). New South Wales, Australia. 19 May 1952. p. 7. Retrieved 20 July 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ Vagg, Stephen (7 September 2020). "A Tale of Two Blondes: Diana Dors and Belinda Lee". Filmink.

External linksEdit