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Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary (1953)

Courtesy of Adelphi Films

Main image of Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary (1953)
35mm, black and white, 79 mins
Directed byMaurice Elvey
Production CompanyAdvance Films Limited
Produced byDavid Dent
Screenplay byTalbot Rothwell
Original playE. V. Tidmarsh
PhotographyPhil Grindrod
Music byWilliam Trytel

Cast: David Tomlinson (Frank Betterton); Diana Dors (Candy Markham); Bonar Colleano (Commander Laurence 'Laurie' Vining); Sidney James (Hank Hanlon); Diana Decker (Gillian Vining); Audrey Freeman (Lucy)

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An American naval officer's honeymoon is thwarted by the arrival of his first wife, who claims that their American divorce is not valid in England.

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By the time she signed up for this cheeky bedroom farce, Diana Dors' star was rising. It was her third film for Adelphi; and Arthur Dent, the canny businessman at the centre of the family-run company, made sure to capitalise on her growing publicity value.

In March 1953, Dent wrote to Dors' husband, Dennis Hamilton, hoping to entice the media-savvy actress to a screening of The Great Game (d. Maurice Elvey, 1952), a recent Adelphi football drama, in which Dors had shone in a small supporting role. He asked: "I would like to know whether Diana could be present to meet the press boys. If she does not particularly want to see the picture it is quite okay but I would like her to have a 'schmooze' with them as I want to give out a story about Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary."

April saw four weeks of filming begin at Nettlefold Studios, Walton-on-Thames. Veteran director Maurice Elvey was called upon to disguise the farce's origins as a West End play and Nettlefold's limited studio space - no mean feat.

Smooth transatlantic lead Bonar Colleano was hired to provide international appeal. Character comedy stalwarts David Tomlinson - memorable as a girl-shy, birdwatching lawyer - and Sid James - entertaining as an American airman, though his accent sometimes stretches credibility thinner than his chewing gum - bolstered a sometimes shaky script with sturdy performances.

But the film belongs to Dors. Ideally cast as mischievous, ultra-blonde temptress Candy, she sashays towards centre stage with a seemingly effortless lightness of step, adding much-needed sparkle to well-worn material. While never appearing to take herself - or the script - the slightest bit seriously, she steals the show with careless assurance.

Dors dominated publicity for the film's November release. A scarlet and black pressbook saw Diana ("saucy, sexy and scintillating") overshadowing her co-stars in a skimpy swimsuit. Italian promotional material dispensed with the rest of the cast altogether, depicting Dors alone atop a fluffy cloud, resplendent in slinky blue evening gown (not seen in the film) and ogled by a grinning man-in-the-moon.

Like the man-in-the-moon, contemporary critics fell in love with Dors. Kine Weekly noted that the leading lady "keeps the pace appropriately hot" and "displays a neat sense of humour as well as a comely figure". Even the hard-to-please British Film Institute submitted to her charms, the Monthly Film Bulletin breathlessly enthusing that she was "exuding 100 per cent sex."

Vic Pratt

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Video Clips
1. An unexpected guest (3:14)
2. The birdwatcher (2:29)
3. Bedtime (1:03)
Lobby cards
Original posters
Production stills
Monthly Film Bulletin review
Colleano, Bonar (1923-1958)
Dors, Diana (1931-1984)
Elvey, Maurice (1887-1967)
James, Sidney (1913-1976)
Rothwell, Talbot (1916-1981)
Tomlinson, David (1917-2000)
Adelphi Films