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Bryan, Dora (1924-)


Main image of Bryan, Dora (1924-)

A regular pleasure of '40s and '50s British films was this chirpy blonde with adaptable nasal voice (Cockney, Lancashire, 'refeened') and scene-stealing comic timing. Dora Bryan (born Dora Broadbent in Southport on 7 February 1924) played tarts of every hue, starting with warm-hearted Rosie in The Fallen Idol (d. Carol Reed, 1948), irresistibly spiteful hussies in The Cure for Love (d. Robert Donat, 1950) and Time Gentlemen Please! (d. Lewis Gilbert, 1952), a nosy neighbour in No Trace (d. John Gilling, 1950), was very comfy as Gladys, the sultan's wife in You Know What Sailors Are (d. Ken Annakin, 1954), and an extremely dubious headmistress in The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (d. Frank Launder & Sidney Gilliat, 1966).

Oddly, after winning a BAFTA for sluttish, selfish Helen ("Every wrinkle tells a dirty story") in A Taste of Honey (d. Tony Richardson, 1961), she made only a handful more films, but she was so persistently busy on the stage and TV that she can scarcely have noticed. Whether Winnie or Glad or Maisie or Pearl, she assured filmgoers of at least a few minutes of unalloyed joy. She was on stage from 1935, often in revues but also in The Merry Wives of Windsor (1984).

Bryan, Dora, According to Dora (1987)

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Blue Lamp, The (1949)Blue Lamp, The (1949)

Classic Ealing police drama that introduced PC George Dixon

Thumbnail image of Carry On Sergeant (1958)Carry On Sergeant (1958)

The first Carry On comedy pokes fun at the army and National Service

Thumbnail image of Crowded Day, The (1954)Crowded Day, The (1954)

The lives and loves of department store workers during Christmas week

Thumbnail image of Cure For Love, The (1949)Cure For Love, The (1949)

Robert Donat directs and stars in a gentle Lancashire comedy

Thumbnail image of Fallen Idol, The (1948)Fallen Idol, The (1948)

Classic child's eye story from Carol Reed and Graham Greene

Thumbnail image of Green Man, The (1956)Green Man, The (1956)

Comedy thriller with Alastair Sim as an eccentric assassin

Thumbnail image of Taste of Honey, A (1961)Taste of Honey, A (1961)

New Wave classic about a pregnant teenager facing an uncertain future

Thumbnail image of You Lucky People! (1955)You Lucky People! (1955)

Successful Army comedy that did wonders for its star Tommy Trinder

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