Saturday, April 28, 2012


The Rank Organisation
A Maurice Cowan Production

Yvonne Mitchell  Kathleen Harrison   Terence Morgan  Thora Hird  Dorothy Allison  Glyn Houston
                 Geoffrey Keen  Russell Waters   Clive Morton
        Joan Collins as Stella Jarvis

                Screenplay by Jack Lee & Maurice Cowan  From a Novel by John Brophy
              Music by Mischa Spollansky   Director of Photography - Geoffrey Unsworth
                             Produced by Maurice Cowan     Directed by Jack Lee
     (c) 1953  Rank .. 81 Mins ..  B/W ..             Region 0 DVD From AMCO  ..

"Turn The Key Softly" is another of Joan's films which cast her as a wayward woman. She plays a west end prostitute, who after been released from prison, vows to give up the profession by marrying her bus worker boyfriend Bob and move to Cannenbury! Shot on location in London in the middle of winter, Joan spent her days freezing, in her far from winter wardrobe. She had to wear the traditional tarts outfit of tight black satin skirt, with a flimsy low cut lurex sweater! After a days filming, she then had to go home exhausted and attempt to cook dinner for her then husband, Maxwell Reed, who's raging moods and occasional episodes of flinging her less than gourmet cooking at the walls of their Mayfair flat. It did not help matters having to share the flat with Max's pet monkey! But on the other hand she was beginning to get noticed by the press, who were featuring her so often, that she was crowned Miss Press Clippings of 1952. She accepted her award from the Hollywood actor Forrest Tucker. One press photo used to publicize "Turn The Key Softly", showed so much cleavage, that the paper got letters of outrage!  Joan was still unhappy with her roles, as she continued to get the "Coffee Bar Jezebel" parts. She had auditioned for the role of Monica that eventually went to Yvonne Mitchell, but had to settle for the part of Stella.

 Nevertheless the film did get some good reviews, including this from  The New York Times.
" Turn The Key Softly" is pointedly realistic of it's examination of the short courses of the lives of three ladies of varying degree, after they have left London's Holloway prison. While not precisely on a heroic scale, the producers have endowed the proceedings with compassion, sensitivity and a modicum of irony. Credit Jack Lee, the director and Maurice Cowan, the producer, who also collaborated on the script, with keeping their heroines in the move, without snarling the traffic in tales.Joan Collins is properly lush and brassy as the cockney charmer who almost, but not quite, reverts to her gay way of life!"
An enjoyable film with likeable characters and a fine cast of British faces. This is one key that is well worth turning!

(c)  2010  Mark McMorrow

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