Value for Money (1955)

#1 by Robert Crewdson , Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:46 pm

Yorkshireman Chayley Broadbent (John Gregson) has inherited his father's rag business, fortune and caution with money. This is to the annoyance of Ethel (Susan Stephen), his fiancée, who has refused to marry him until he learns how to enjoy himself. So that is what he decides to do. He travels to London with friends and attends a show. There he is captivated by a stunning, blonde dancer, Ruthine West, (Diana Dors). He carries a photo of her in his wallet, which is discovered by his fiancee, who breaks off the engagement. Chayley goes back to London and proposes to Ruthine, and invites her up to Yorkshire as a celebrity to open a new civic centre on some land he donated to the town. Eventually he realises that they are not suited to each other; North and South don't mix, and he breaks off their engagement. His former fiancee, Susan Stephen, takes him back, but insists that he pay £5,000 to Ruthine for Breach of Promise. Chayley's close friend, an even richer business man, played by Stephen Farr, is also interested in Ruthine, and Chayley says he would be prepared to give her up for money, and gets from him, the amount he just agreed to pay in compensation. So all ends happily and a double wedding follows.

This was the first film to be shot in Vistavision by Rank, and is also the first film in colour for Donald Pleasance. The story was written by Batley born journalist Derrick Boothroyd, and the film was largely shot on location in Batley, doubling for the fictional town of Barfield; other filming was done at Pinewood Studios, and the civic centre and swimming pool seen in the film were at Isleworth, Middlesex.. Diana Dors never went to Yorkshire, so for these scenes she had a stand in. Among the other acrors are, Joan Hickson as Chayley's housekeeper, Leslie Philips as a press photographer, and Frank Pettingell as the Town Mayor. John Gregson celebrated his birthday during filming by sharing his cake with the pupils of Mill Lane School.

The film marked a departure from the kind of films Rank had been producing. It was Weston Drury, the Casting Director, who was responsible for Diana Dors being cast as nightclub dancer Ruthine West. The film was to be directed by her old friend Ken Annakin, with whom she had worked on 'The Huggets' series. Annakin told reporters how he was looking forward to working again with one of his favourite actresses, but met with fierce opposition from the producer, Moscow born Sergei Nolbandov, who had been told of Diana's fondness for changing in front of the cat and crew, even once stripping down to her underwear to give the technicians an eyeful. He declared that he would not have a woman of such a reputation on any set of his, and was all for having her fired, until Annakin stepped into the breach to defend her. He declared that Diana was the most consumate professional he had ever worked with. She was punctual, she never argued or complained with the director no matter what he asked her to do, and there was not one person who had worked with her in the past who did not adore her. Furthermore, he stressed that if Nolbandov fired her, then they would have to find another director.
The film's content had to be reassessed by Arthur Watkins of The British Board of Film Censors, who had been responsible for introducing the X certificate in 1951. His attention had be drawn to a paragraph written in the 'Daily Sketch', by John Balfour, that referred to the still of Diana peeking around a bathroom door. 'Even as a publicity still the pose is cheap, and it is not the kind of cheapness Mr.Rank's studios can afford to indulge in. Nor for that matter can Miss Dors herself, just at a time when her genuine talent as an actress is being recognised. I look to Mr Watkins, a fair and far from prudish censor, to save Diana and her employers from themselves!' The film was given it's original A certificate, but cuts were made.

The offending still had now been removed from circulation, and many fans were disappointed not to see the much talked about scene. It's claimed this scene was never in the film. I'm wondering if this was just removed from the UK version, as my American print does contain a scene where Diana pretends to have taken a bath, then opens the door slightly and asks John Gregson to pass her a towel.

The film was premiered at the Gaumont Cinema in the Haymarket, London on 12th August, 1955.
In March, 2013, the Batley History Group arranged a special screening of the film, which was attended by 100 people, some of whom had appeared as extras in the film, and were asked to share their memories of the filming. Batley History Group chairman Malcolm Haigh said the audience was moved by the film’s locations, including a rag warehouse in Station Road, the Park Cafe, Taylor Street, the Co-op Cafe, Batley Cemetery, the Market Square and the interior of the Town Hall.

This was a film that I deliberated over for some months, as I had an earlier film with Frank Pettingell, that was also about a mill owner and a gold digging woman, and wondered how similar they were. I have always been a fan of John Gregson, and had never seen this film. After enquiring about the colour stock used in this print, and learned it was IB Tech, I decided to buy it. My first and only feature in this stock. This film has since been shown on Talking Pictures TV.

Ken Annakin, John Gregson, Diana Dors and the rest of the cast.

Metal advertising plate.

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Last edited 06.13.2018 | Top

RE: Value for Money (1955)

#2 by Greg Perry , Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:06 pm


This must be a great one to have in IB Tech! Did you get the small printing plate for this one too?
I am not all that familiar with Diana Dors, but my perception is she is a blonde bombshell such as Marilyn Monroe?---Certainly a beautiful woman!
I do think it interesting to read the censors did not like Diana's peek-a-boo around the door. Sounds like not much nudity at all but the mere hint at a flirtatious scene was enough for the censorship standards that were in place in the past---well, times sure have changed....

Might be time to mount this on the projector soon and give Ms. Dors some big screen time!

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RE: Value for Money (1955)

#3 by Robert Crewdson , Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:47 pm

Yes, Greg, I bought the printing plate for this as well. I think the censors were over strict in those days. It wasn't too many years later before nudity got into films. I think it was probably the suggestion, rather than what you see that got the cuts made.
Diana Dors was called Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe.

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RE: Value for Money (1955)

#4 by Dave Guest , Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:32 pm

yes cracking film this I have had my prints over 20 years one in stunning colour and one in black and white

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