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Roc, Patricia (1915-2003)


Main image of Roc, Patricia (1915-2003)

Patricia Roc (born Felicia Riese in London on 7 July 1915) began her screen career in the late 1930s with The Gaunt Stranger (d. Walter Forde, 1938) and The Rebel Son (UK/France, d. Adrian Brunel, 1939). However, wartime saw her gain prominence as one of the most popular contemporary stars of the era. After appearing in John Baxter's Let the People Sing (1942), she became a 'People's War' heroine in Millions Like Us (d. Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, 1943) before featuring in Gainsborough melodramas.

Although Roc became associated with 'nice girl' roles in Madonna of the Seven Moons (d. Arthur Crabtree, 1944) and The Wicked Lady (d. Leslie Arliss, 1945), she could also do more complex, tougher females as Love Story (d. Arliss, 1944), The Brothers (d. David Macdonald, 1947) and Jassy (d. Bernard Knowles, 1947) revealed. In The Brothers, she combined femme fatale and 'wronged woman' characters in her performance. Roc provided a perfect complement to Margaret Lockwood in Gainsborough melodramas. She also played herself in a cameo in Holiday Camp (d. Ken Annakin, 1947) as well as performing a dual role as human and robot in the silly comedy The Perfect Woman (d. Bernard Knowles, 1949).

Unlike Lockwood's sensual performances, Roc usually represented the normal, unthreatening aspect of the attractive sincere British female stereotype in her films. Her acting potential seen in The Brothers was never developed. Like Phyllis Calvert she found Hollywood wasted her talents as Canyon Passage (US, d. Jacques Tourneur, 1946) and The Man on the Eiffel Tower (US, d. Burgess Meredith, 1950) both revealed. She returned to British films performing different variations of her sincere star persona before retiring after playing 'first wife' to George Sanders in Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons (d. W.Lee Wilder, 1960).

Tony Williams, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Jassy (1947)Jassy (1947)

Technicolor melodrama about a gypsy girl with second sight

Thumbnail image of Love Story (1944)Love Story (1944)

A terminally ill pianist falls in love with a man who's going blind

Thumbnail image of Madonna of the Seven Moons (1944)Madonna of the Seven Moons (1944)

Florentine melodrama about a jewel thief and his amnesiac mistress

Thumbnail image of Millions Like Us (1943)Millions Like Us (1943)

Launder & Gilliat film about the lives of women during World War II

Thumbnail image of Two Thousand Women (1944)Two Thousand Women (1944)

Drama set in a women's internment camp during World War II

Thumbnail image of Wicked Lady, The (1945)Wicked Lady, The (1945)

A bored Margaret Lockwood finds fulfilment through highway robbery

Related collections

Thumbnail image of Gainsborough MelodramaGainsborough Melodrama

1940s costume dramas for a newly independent female audience

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