The Blonde Bombshell (1999)
“The days of the sexy blonde with the hour-glass figure are long gone” Diana Dors’ agent advises her. “Jayne Mansfield is just a joke with the kids… I don’t think they’d even know you”. This biopic, made over thirty years after this conversation is set, attempts to rectify that gap in our collective cultural knowledge. Incredibly, it spends 200 minutes doing so.
Therein lies the problem. Diana Dors, whose real name was Diana Fluck, was a passable actress who appeared in a string of average films at the start of her career, and soft-porn sex comedies towards the end. Touted as Britain’s Marilyn Monroe, Dors’ off-screen escapades could have been of some interest, but for the most part she is seen as an unwilling partner to her first husband’s lascivious activities.
He is also blamed for ruining her film career. Not only does he stop his wife from performing opposite Laurence Olivier and Albert Finney, but he sabotages her chances in Hollywood when he brawls with a press photographer. Though she returns to the States with a second husband, she is reduced to performing stage acts to pay off her first husband’s debts.
Up to this point the blonde bombshell has been portrayed by Keeley Hawes, who appears quite unselfconscious in her mimicking of Dors’ natural acting style. Amanda Redman takes over the role for the biopic's final third, yet by this stage most viewers probably couldn’t give a fying Fluck.
as Diana Dors
as Diana Dors
as Rod Steiger
as Richard Dawson
Movie infers Dors was forced into having her first abortion by husband Dennis Hamilton. She in fact had already had an abortion prior to meeting him.
Unlike her depiction in this biopic Diana Dors was, according to her son Mark Dawson, a shrewd and ambitious woman who had iron control of her life, career and her finances
"She knew the public wouldn't accept her as a manipulator, however, so she cultivated her first husband Dennis Hamilton's image as a Svengali."
Apart from the recreated scenes from a few of her earlier movies, including A Boy a Girl and a Bike, Lady Godiva Rides Again and Yield to the Night, this biopic also recreates the screen test for Dors' (uncredited) film debut in The Shop at Sly Corner.