Diamonds to Dust (2014)
Jayne Mansfield had a knack for using her ample bosom to generate publicity. She ‘accidentally’ lost her bikini top while attending a press junket for Underwater, and wore a very low cut dress to an event lauding Sophia Loren. Diamonds to Dust, which recreates the Loren episode, also has a knack for exposing its star’s breasts. Just not with same decorum and panache that Mansfield was renowned for.
After spending the first third of its running time paying perfunctory due to Mansfield’s early successes, the biopic arrives at Promises..... Promises!, which is thoughtfully prefaced with the caption – JAYNE MANSFIELD FIRST AMERICAN ACTRESS TO DO A NUDE SCENE IN 1963’S “PROMISES,PROMISES”. Thereafter, Diamonds to Dust wallows in the dust of Mansfield’s last four years, accompanying each scene with a caption stating its time and place. JAYNE’S FIRST APPEARANCE AT GUS STEVEN’S SUPPER CLUB 1963. BILOXI MISSISSIPPI SUMMER OF 1963. At times the captions needlessly describe the scene that's to follow. JAYNE RETURNS HOME WITH NELSON. JAYNE MEETS MATT CIMBER. ENTER SAM BRODY. In case the bleeding obvious needed deciphering.
No such clarification is required to determine the quality of this film, though BARGAIN BASEMENT BIOPIC would have sufficed. Locations are mostly limited to bedrooms, dressing rooms and hotel hallways, the cast is made of actors for whom this film is (understandably) their sole credit and exposition is served by either meaningless monologues in the midst of a thunderstorm or phone-calls between principals.
During one such call Mansfield tells her mother she hopes to land the lead in a Jean Harlow biopic to prove that she can act. Unfortunately for Hailey Heisick, her performance in this biopic proves the opposite. As it is, the film’s best portrayal of a screen legend comes courtesy of Jaymes Mansfield’s turn as Mae West… and she’s a drag queen!
as Jayne Mansfield
as Mickey Hargitay
as Mae West
as Sophia Loren
Despite the claims of the aforementioned caption, Jayne Mansfield was not the first American actress to do a nude scene, as there were many instances of American actresses appearing nude on screen pre-Hays Code.
Recreates Mansfield’s bathtub scene from Promises! Promises! Also includes footage from The Girl Can’t Help It.