Passage Home 1955

Diane Cilento was born in Mooloolaba, Queensland, in 1933. She was one of six children of Lady Phyllis and Sir Raphael Cilento, both eminent doctors. Diane achieved international acclaim as a stage and screen actor in the 1950s and 1960s.

She was a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Her marriage to actor Sean Connery in 1962 attracted feverish attention the world over.

When they married he was a little know actor but the marriage

came under strain when he got the part of Bond and media attention made heir lives intolerable. They eventually divorced after she had accused him of striking her – he hadn’t made that any better when he said that sometimes a wife needs a slap.

In an interview with Playboy magazine in 1965, Sean Connery said: “You can do a woman a lot more harm by moral torture than with a slap.

“I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong in hitting a woman, though I don’t recommend you do it the same way that you hit a man.”

You just can’t work out why he would want to say that – I know that he was notoriously tight-fisted and I think back to Roal Dahl’s comments after he had written the screenplay for ‘You Only Live Twice’ and was on location with the unit.

Dahl was in Japan for the filming of You Only Live Twice, the new James Bond movie he had adapted – very loosely – from Ian Fleming’s novel. The shoot was based for a time around the city of Kagoshima in the country’s sweltering south, and at the end of the day the cast and crew would relax with a cold beer on set. Sean Connery joined in with the drinking but, as Dahl quickly noticed, left the business of paying to other people.

“He was the only man making a million in the film and he never stood anyone a round,” Dahl later observed. “This was known. They all talked about it. He is not an attractive personality.”

Marriage to Sean Connery really wrecked Diane Cilento’s acting life although she did later come back in such films as ‘The Wicker Man’

Later in her life she returned to Queensland Nr Mossman and lived in there until her death in 2011

I have digressed a bit here because this film ‘Passage Home’ was made before she married her first husband and well before she even met Mr Connery

ABOVE: At Pinewoods Studios, during filming of ‘Passage Home’.

Her first leading part was in Roy Ward Baker’s J Arthur Rank drama Passage Home (1955), as the only woman on a cargo ship from South America to London.

Her sultry presence naturally gets the crew all steamed up, especially the captain Peter Finch and first mate Anthony Steele.

I am tempted to say that Diane Cilento and Peter Finch were both Australians – well she certainly was but he was actually born in London but spent much of his childhood and early life in Australia – so in a way they were kindred spirits.

The film was made at Pinewood in November of 1954

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