|Lady Godiva Rides Again|
|Directed by||Frank Launder|
|Written by||Frank Launder|
|Produced by||Sidney Gilliat|
|Edited by||Thelma Connell|
|Music by||William Alwyn|
|Distributed by||British Lion Films|
|25 October 1951|
|Box office||£117,891 (UK)|
Lady Godiva Rides Again is a 1951 British comedy film starring Pauline Stroud, George Cole and Bernadette O'Farrell, with British stars in supporting roles or making cameo appearances. It concerns a small-town English girl who wins a local beauty contest by appearing as Lady Godiva, then decides to pursue a higher profile in a national beauty pageant and as an actress.
The film was released in the United States under its original title in 1953 by Carroll Pictures, then was re-released in the United States as Bikini Baby, to capitalize on the profile of supporting player Diana Dors, who was given star billing with the new title.
It also features Joan Collins in her film debut as an uncredited beauty contestant. Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in England, also appears as an uncredited beauty queen. Ruth, who was four months pregnant at the time, had dyed her hair black and had styled it into a bob. Other young starlets in the film included Diana Russell, Dana Wynter (billed as Dagmar Wynter), Anne Heywood (billed as Violet Pretty), Yvonne Brooks, Simone Silva, Jean Marsh and Pat Marlowe. It also featured Sid James in one of his first film roles. Trevor Howard has an uncredited cameo as a cinema patron.
On a rainy Sunday afternoon in Coventry Johnny takes his girlfriend to the cinema. In the intermission between films, as Johnny gets an ice-cream, she sees an advertisement on-screen asking for girls to compete for the position of Lady Godiva in the annual street festival. She decides she will enter.
The film was inspired by the Miss Kent 1950 beauty competition held at Leas Cliff Hall in Kent. Frank Launder, joint producer of the film with Leslie Gilliatt, was one of the judges in the competition. Audrey Hepburn tested for the title role but was judged too thin.
The film was originally called Beauty Queen.
The filmmakers reportedly tested over 500 women to play the lead role including Joan Collins and Audrey Hepburn. The actor picked was Pauline Stroud. Her only previous film experience was as Vera-Ellen's stand-in in Happy Go Lovely (1951). Collins was given a bit part.
It was the first time John McCallum, who was Australian, played an Australian in a British film. Kay Kendall was cast as Stroud's sister after Launder saw her in a BBC play; the film helped revive Kendall's career after London Town.
Filming took place in June–July 1951. The production filmed on location in Folkestone, Kent. The Leas Cliff Hall was used as the location for the beauty competition, and The Metropole was the setting for the seaside hotel hosting the Fascination Soap Pageant. Folkestone West station features in the film for the railway scenes where Marjorie Clark (Pauline Stroud) arrives and meets Dolores August (Diana Dors) and her consorts, Larry and Vic. The now closed Rotunda Amusement Park was also used for the scenes where Larry (John McCallum) and Marjorie visit and go on rides.
Diana Dors appeared in a swimsuit in one scene. She shot two versions – one in a bikini for release in Europe, another in a more conservative swimsuit for release in America. American censors objected to the content of the film, including the revealing nature of outfits worn by Diana Dors.
Filmink said Dors "livens up every scene she appears in and her part is too small (she disappears in the second half); once again, the movie would have been better had Dors played the lead."