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Diana Dors (1931-1984)

  1. Jean Simmons, Give Us The Moon, 1944.    Di tested for Margaret Lockwood's sister.
  2. Peggy Evans, The Blue Lamp, 1949.  Diana was penned for Diana until director Basil Dearden preferred a waif to a glamour girl. (Dors was on her way to becoming the UK Marilyn).  Jack Warner, playing the  murdered copper (later resurrected for his TV series, Dixon of Dock Green, lasting  21 years!) ), would meet Di Dors again  in three of his movie series about the Huggett family: Holiday Camp, 1956  Here Come The Huggetts, 1948, and Vote for Huggett, 1949.
  3. Dora Bryan, The Cure For Love, 1950.    She was among the few tested for the role that Robert Donat (in his first and last outing as writer-producer-director) had reserved for Dora- hardly a DD-style sexpot.
  4. Dora Bryan, The Quiet Woman, 1951.   DD has a barney with director John Gilling on her first day as the barmaid and was swiftly replaced, -  again by Dora, who was still no pin-up. Like replacing Marilyn  Monroe with Thelma Ritter. 
  5. Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday, 1952.   Frank Capra (and George Stevens) wanted Liz Taylor, William Wyler liked Suzanne Cloutier (the future Mrs Peter Ustinov) for the runaway Princess Ann.   A further 28 actresses were seen, the good, bad and risible – like the current sex-bombs Yvonne De Carlo Diana Dors, Gina Lollobrigida, Sylvana Mangano, Shelley Winters.  Apart from, perhaps, Vanessa Brown, Mona Freeman and Wanda Hendrix (even though  her real name as Dixie), the Hollywood hopefuls  - singer Rosemary Clooney(George’s aunt), Jeanne Crain, Nina Foch, Janet Leigh, Joan Leslie, June Lockhart, Dorothy Malone, Patricia Neal, Barbara Rush - were soon discarded, lacking the stature of Euro-royalty. Idem for the Euros – Swedish Bibi Andersson, and the French Capucine, Leslie Caron, Jeanne Moreau. Which left several perfect Brits Claire Bloom, Joan Collins, Glynis Johns, Kay Kendall, Deborah Kerr, Angela Lansbury, Moira Shearer, and, of course, Audrey, … soon gracing the Time cover, hailed by the New York Times as a "slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike" with, added Variety,  a "delightful affectation in voice and delivery, controlled just enough to have charm and serve as a trademark,"(And, Indeed, it did for evermore).
  6. Virginia McKenna, Carve Her Name With Pride, 1958.   Virginia was the perfect English Rose (and under Rank contract),so it was obvious shewould play theBritish heroine of the French Resistance, Violette Szabo.Except Violette was a Cockney from Brixton and director Lewis Gilbert really wanted the "much rougher" Di, who had already proved herself in drama with Yield To The Night, 1956.
  7. Vera Miles, Beyond This Place (US: Web of Evidence), 1958.    Major changes - and none for the better - as the initial leads, Di Dors and Hollywood’s Robert Wagnet, were superceded by Miles and… Van Johnson at 42, replacing Wagner, who was his character’s actual age - 28.
  8. Rachel Roberts, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, 1960.   She had too much glamour queen baggage by now to be accepted as a low, adulteroushousewife.
  9. Gloria Jean, The Ladies' Man, 1961. “Because I played a part in Danny Kaye’s On The Double for less money, I find myself out of Jerry’s picture. I can dislike him for that, can't I?” Lewis left Di’s name in the credits - and in trade paper stories. I kept expecting her to turn up.
  10. Barbara Windsor, Crooks In Cloisters, 1963.    Typically asinine UK farce - forgers hiding out as monks. “I didn’t care about being second choice,” said Windsor, “it won me the Carry On films.”You know: same film, different titles."
  11. Kim Novak, The Legend of Lylah Clare, 1967.    The film that broke the legend of Kim Novak.  Producer-director Robert Aldrich blamed her for the flop, then admitted the fault was his. Either way, Novak never made another film.  Aldrich has first wanted Andress, the UK-Marilyn Diana Dors or the French Jeanne Moreau as the movie icon. When Tuesday Weld played her on TV, May 19, 1963, Lylah seemed based on Marilyn (or even Weld). The Aldrich take  came adrift by making Novak and Peter Finch more like Marlene Dietrich and  her director Josef von Sternberg.




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