As most of you will know by now, not only do I adore Old Hollywood but I especially love the incredible Blonde Bombshells of that era. I love to learn about their talent and lives, sadly so many just see them as pretty faces – when they are so much more than that!
Last week on at FACT for their Vintage Sundays was one of Diana’s films, Tread Softly Stranger (1958) and it was shown in collaboration with the Diana Dors Exhibit being held at The Gallery in Liverpool. It was also in association with Pride as Diana is often associated as an icon for the LGBT Community, so that was wonderful.
Since discovering Marilyn in October 2010 and thus learning about Old Hollywood, I’ve known about Diana for a number of years. She was known as Britain’s Version of Marilyn Monroe and although she embraced the nickname, she ironically said,
“I was the first home-grown sex symbol, rather like Britain’s naughty seaside postcards. When Marilyn Monroe’s first film was shown here [The Asphalt Jungle (1950)], a columnist actually wrote, “How much like our Diana Dors she is.”.
After becoming a huge star in the UK and Europe in the 1950s, Diana ventured out to America and was offered a three picture contract with RKO Pictures in 1956. Ironically, when Diana came to America, Marilyn went to England to film The Prince and The Showgirl with Laurence Olivier and the two never met.
The Exhibit which is being shown at The Gallery until mid December, is a beautiful collection of Diana in her heyday – the 1950s. The room is filled with stunning vintage movie posters and magazines, as well as a lot of rare photos. I was even more thrilled when I learn that I was allowed to take pictures, which of course I will be sharing with you all! The Guide who showed us around the exhibit kindly showed us some more of the collection which was not on display. I asked about the Collector and how he discovered Diana and was told that he first bought a Diana Vintage Poster, (Tread Softly Stranger) when he was just 14 years old and 34 years on he’s still collecting!
Although I don’t have any vintage movie posters as they are sadly too expensive for me, over the years I’ve collected a good amount of vintage magazines and movie stills – especially of Marilyn. I would absolutely love to show my collection some day, it’s such a wonderful idea to have it all on display and shared with other fans. Before I left I purchased my own print of Diana, although it was £35 it is without doubt worth the money. It’s such a unique item for my collection and rare and beautiful picture.
Out of all of the amazing peices in the exhibit, my favourite would have to be a group of photos from Diana’s personal collection. I was told the top right is her as Marilyn and bottom right as Mae West. I’m guessing the top left is Marlene Dietrich and bottom left Clara Bow, very similar to Marilyn’s 1958 photos by Richard Avedon! I also adored the candid rare photos from the 1950s.
I know that a lot of you may not be able to see the exhibit, therefore I hope you enjoy the photos I took and I really hope the exhibit will be displayed in other galleries!
Diana Films I’d Recommend:
- The Unholy Wife (1957)
- The Long Haul (1957)
- I Married A Woman (1958)
- Tread Softly Stranger (1958)
- Passport To Shame/Room 43 (1958)
Diana Books I’d Recommend:
- Swingin’ Dors
- Come By Sunday: The Fabulous Ruined Life of Diana Dors
- Dors By Diana
- Connecting Dors: The Legacy of Diana Dors
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