Diamond City 1949

I have a feeling that this film would have done well if it had been filmed in COLOUR – but it did not do well at all – even though it had some very well known, mainly British,  Stars of the era. There were FOUR jig saw puzzles issued at the time – Diamond City – and I have just been lucky enough to get hold of this one called Hope Town Bar. Diamon City 2 The other THREE are titled  Crossing The Vaal, The Can Can Girls and Looking for Trouble. As a child I remember getting at least one of these Jig Saw Puzzles for Christmas – and I think that would have been Christmas 1950 or 1951 and I seem sure one of them was Crossing The Vaal and also The Can Can Girls.

My Mother and Father would have bought these for me – I was like my Mother,  she loved the films too,  so no doubt she would have chosen these puzzles and probably helped me do them  too. The film is not easy to get hold of and is not one of those that come back time and again on Television – in fact I cannot remember it being on at all.  The story was set in South Africa and in fact a crew were sent out late in 1948 to film exterior scenes although I don’t know that any of the actors went – most of the filming was done at Denham Film Studios. However it did say in an article I read that filming was held up for a time due to the illness of David Farrar – one of the stars of the film. I do know that after retirement he went to live in South Africa, and in fact he died there in 1995.

So maybe he went out there to film some scenes, then became ill after he got back, and in the process of the filming he developed a love of South Africa – I don’t know – this is just speculation.

The Film was based on the true story of Stafford Parker who was elected president of the Diamond Diggers Republic in 1871. The film was planned in 1945 as Digger’s Rest and was to star Stewart Granger from director Leslie Arliss. “This Parker was a born fighter, a great, husky guy”, said Arliss.    Patricia Roc was to play the Salvation Army girl with whom Parker falls in love. However Patricia Roc was named in a divorce case involving Fay Compton sfter she had an affair with Fay’s husband at that time - Ralph Michael – who we remember from the classic Dead of Night 1946, and Gainsborough reportedly dropped her from the film as a result.

Eventually the male starring role was given to David Farrar who had received acclaim for his performance in Black Narcissus. It was directed by David MacDonald who must havebeen going through a sticky patch because he had direct Christopher Columbus earlier and that had proved a very expensive flop.

Diana Dors played the role of the saloon keeper when Jean Kent was unavailable. It was Diana Dors’ biggest part up to that time. The film was seen as an attempt by producer Sydney Box to compete with Eureka Stockade (1949), another British film set and shot in Australia.

I will keep a look-out for more of these puzzles from the film

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