Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951)

Black and white image of a beauty pageant - girls on the stage with an audience watching

Lady Godiva Rides Again screenshot © London Film Productions

Director: Frank Launder

Writers: Frank Launder, Val Valentine

Starring: Pauline Stroud, Dennis Price, John McCallum, Stanley Holloway, Diana Dors

Production Company: ZSA

Kent location used: Folkestone – The Leas Cliff Hall, The Metropole, Rotunda Amusement Park and Folkestone West Train Station

Lady Godiva Rides Again is a British comedy film about a small town girl who wins a local beauty pageant and finds herself unprepared for the cutthroat world of fame when she competes in a rigged Fascination Soap beauty competition.

The film was inspired by the 1950 Miss Kent beauty pageant which was held at The Leas Cliff Hall where director and writer Frank Launder was one of the judges in the competition.

The film was directed by Frank Launder (The Lady Vanishes, The Green Man, The Great St. Trinian’s Train Robbery) who also co-wrote alongside Val Valentine (We Dive at Dawn, Rich and Strange, Blue Murder at St. Trinian’s).

The cast includes Pauline Stroud (Skyport, Harpers West One), John McCallum (The Long Memory, Skippy, Boney), Dennis Price (Kind Hearts and Coronets, Tunes of Glory, Victim), Stanley Holloway (My Fair Lady, Brief Encounter, The Lavender Hill Mob) and Diana Dors (The Unholy Wife, I Married a Woman, A Kid for Two Farthings).

Cast members arriving at the Metropole Hotel Folkestone for the filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again July 1951

Cast members arriving at the Metropole Hotel Folkestone for the filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again July 1951 © Kent Photo Archive

 

Diana Dors and Dennis Hamilton arriving at the Metropole Hotel Folkestone for the filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again July 1951

Diana Dors and Dennis Hamilton arriving at the Metropole Hotel Folkestone for the filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again July 1951 © Kent Photo Archive

Parade on the Leas during filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again Folkestone July 1951- row of cars driving along the road

Parade on the Leas during filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again Folkestone July 1951 © Kent Photo Archive

Pauline Stroud arriving at the Metropole Hotel Folkestone for the filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again July 1951

Pauline Stroud arriving at the Metropole Hotel Folkestone for the filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again July 1951 © Kent Photo Archive

Diana Dors and Dennis Hamilton arriving at the Metropole Hotel Folkestone for the filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again July 1951 Pauline Stroud arriving at the Metropole Hotel Folkestone for the filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again July 1951

Diana Dors and Dennis Hamilton arriving at the Metropole Hotel Folkestone for the filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again July 1951 Pauline Stroud arriving at the Metropole Hotel Folkestone for the filming of Lady Godiva Rides Again July 1951 © Kent Photo Archive

exterior of The Metropole hotel and pavement in front

Lady Godiva Rides Again screenshot at The Metropole © London Film Productions

The production visited Folkestone where they filmed at The Leas Cliff Hall, which was used as the location for the beauty competition and The Metropole, which was the setting for the seaside hotel hosting the Fascination Soap Pageant. Folkestone West Train Station features in the film for the scenes where Marjorie Clark (Pauline Stroud), arrives and meets Dolores August (Diana Dors). The now closed Rotunda Amusement Park was also used for the scenes where Larry (John McCallum) and Marjorie visit and go on rides.

Folkestone is a town in the Shepway district of Kent and boasts a beach, quaint streets and many studios and galleries at the Creative Quarter. The Leas Cliff Hall is a theatre and entertainment venue offering splendid views across the channel. The Metropole is an old spa hotel which has been redeveloped into flats. The area has used for filming by productions such as The Tunnel (2013), Is Anybody There? (2009) and The Darling Buds of May (1991 – 1993).

Lady Godiva Rides Again was released in cinemas on October 1951 and is now available to buy on DVD.

With kind thanks to Kent Photo Archive for allowing us to share their images.

 

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map. 


Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

 

Kind Hearts and Coronets poster- two ladies wearing extravagant hats, with a man behind bars behind them. Kind Hearts and Coronets is written on a poster behind them

Kind Hearts and Coronets © Eagle-Lion Films

Director:Robert Hamer

Writers: Robert Hamer

Starring: Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson, Joan Greenwood, Hugh Griffith

Production Company:  Ealing Studios, Michael Balcon Productions

Kent Locations: Leeds Castle, Harrietsham, Boughton Monchelsea

Kind Hearts and Coronets is based on the novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman which tells the story of Louis Mazzini, an aristocrat descendent  who sets out to murder eight D’Ascoynes family heirs in order to become the Duke.

The film has become a timeless classic, being regarded as one of best British films of all time. It has been included in both Time magazine and the BFI top 100 British films of all time.

Eight of the D’Ascoynes, are played by the legendary Alec Guiness who are one by one they are murdered in a variety of ways from poisoning to drowning and even exploding.

Leeds Castle doubled as Chalfont Castle, the D’Ascoynes family home. Located on the outskirts of Maidstone,  Leeds Castle was built as a Norman stronghold and became the home of royalty, including Henry VIII when he visited Kent. Surrounded by a mote and 500 acres of gardens, the Castle became a monument to the Tudor era and a popular tourist destination.  It has previously been used for productions such as Lady Jane (1987).

The film also shot outside The Cock Inn pub in Boughton Monchelsea village for the scene where Louis (Dennis Price) takes photos and meets Henry (Alec Guinness). The village is on the outskirts of Maidstone and contains an array of urban and rural land and historic features including a church built in 1100 and a 16th century manor house.

Harrietsham village was also used for the scene where Louis (Dennis Price) rides around the village. Harrietsham is a  rural village to the east of Maidstone and  has many Grade I listed buildings including The Old House and Saxon Church of St John the Baptist.  

Kind Hearts and Coronets was released in 1969 and is now available on DVD.

 

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map. 


A Canterbury Tale (1944)

 

 

The two soldiers sat at a cafe table, a women is stood in between with a tray serving them.

The two soldiers in a cafe © Granada International

Directed  and Written by: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger

Starring: Eric Portman, John Sweet, Shelia Sim and Dennis Price

Production Company:  The Archers, Independent Producers

Kent Filming Locations: City of Canterbury, Canterbury Cathedral, Chilham, Fordwich, Little Stour, Selling, Wickhambreaux and Wingham

Inspired by the Chaucer tales, this classic film by cinema legends Powell and Pressburger tells the story of a modern day pilgrimage to the beautiful city of Canterbury. Set in the 1940’s amidst the drama of World War II, the film opens with the chance meeting of American G.I Bob Johnson (John Sweet), Land Girl Alison Smith (Shelia Sim) and British Soldier Peter Gibbs (Dennis Price).

On disembarking a train headed for Canterbury, the three arrive in the sleepy fictional village of Chillingbourne. Soldier Peter Gibbs has been stationed at a nearby Army Camp, Alison is due to start work on a local farm and G.I Bob accidentally got off the train believing it to be the stop for Canterbury. On leaving the station to walk to the town hall, Alison is attacked by the Glue Man, a mysterious assailant who pours glue onto the hair of local girls. The three decide to stay in the area in order to do some sleuthing.

Another local Kent village, Fordwich was used for r exterior shots of “Chillingbourne” village. Before the Wantsum Channel, a stretch of water that divided The Isle of Thanet from Kent, dried up Fordwich was the main port serving Canterbury.Filmed at Denham Studios and on location around Kent, the film is a visually stunning walk through some of the most scenic locations in the county. Selling Train Station cameos as Chillingbourne Station, where the three main protagonists first meet.  Several Kentish villages were used for the fictional location of Chillingbourne.  The historical village of Wingham was established in Roman times but it has been inhabited since the Stone Age.  In 1286, the Archbishop of Canterbury founded a college in the area and many of the local buildings date back to this time, including The Red Lion Inn which was used for exterior shots of The Hand of Glory Inn for the film.

Near the picturesque village of Chilham, Chilham Mill provided the perfect backdrop for the charming scene where American soldier Joe sails in a row boat with the local children. The mill is the best preserved on the River Stour. It is said that the village itself was inspiration for the name of fictional village Chillingbourne in the film and if true, this would certainly not be the last time Chilham inspired filmmakers. A popular tourist attraction for the county, TV drama’s such as Miss Marple (2006) and Poirot (1995) have filmed in the village.

Another local mill in nearby village Wickhambreaux also appeared in the film. As Joe and land girl Alison ride on a cart through the beautiful Kent countryside, the mill features in the background of the shot. The perfect rural setting, the village was once home to Joan of Kent who was wife to Edward Plantagenet, the father of infamous English King Richard II.

The City of Canterbury steals the show at the end of the film as the setting for the dramatic parade of soldiers through the main High Street.  The city skyline is dominated by the stunning Cathedral which is the oldest in England. Canterbury is a place that is both steeped in heritage and tradition and a modern, bustling city.  A Canterbury Tale gives a modern day viewer an insight into how the Second World War affected the city, but even with visible bomb damage, many of the streets used can still be recognised today.  The Cathedral itself paid homage to A Canterbury Tale in 2006 when the film was screened in the Cathedral Nave.

A Canterbury Tale is now available to buy on DVD.

 

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.