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MARIAN MARCH PAGE
A mazing Story Of Dia ne Ci lento s Success On Stage And Screen
LONDON. — A girl who changes her personality by put ting her hair up is being given more and more space in the columns of London* « *!aae and film critics.
Diane Cilento. tianirh
ter ot -Sir Kapiiae1 Cileuto. noted authority on tropiiral diseases. ;in-! ''ormer DireitorGene ral of Health and Medi eal Services in Queens land, and Lady Cilento. also a doctor and a leader of social welfare activities in Brisbane, is at the ase (if 21 a top rankinjr stace and film star. So far she has been a Juliet, an angel, a servant lirl and a Hollywood star let Now she is to be a Helen of Troy: having been given the lead, opposite Michael Redgrave in Christopher Pry's adaptation of Jean Giraudoux's 'The Trojan War Shall Not Take Place,' scheduled for production in the West End in April, and later on Broadway. She is at present wearing her red-gold hair in a bun for the role of a trim gover ness in the otherwise all male cast of the new adven ture film 'Passage Home,' which is being produced at Pinewood Studios, and in which another, successful young Australian. Peter Finch, has a leading role. Cosmopolitan Critics refer to Diane Cilento as either an Aus tralian or as a Queens lander. In the 21 years since she was born in New Guinea she has moved so rapidly from place to place that she is, if anything, a cosmopolitan. Leaving Australia when she was 16. she went to America so study ballet while her father was UN Director of Refugees and Displaced Persons. She admits she was 'too lazy about ballet and went upstairs in the same build ing where they taught drama.' Then at 19 she came to London with £10 and her talent. She worked ' as shop assistant, baby /sitter. programme seller in cir cuses and studied at the Roval Academy of Dramatic Art Film producers thought her too decorative for such things and gave her small parts. But it was on- the stage that she was dis covered. At first critics were wary. As one said:— 'Too many youngsters who show pro mise one year are 'has beens the next' Her Juliet was hailed as one of the greatest ever seen, in Manchester — which really knows better, than Lonoon. anyway. Then in London's tiny Arts Theatre she played the fiery servant girl in Bernard Shaw's 'Arms and the Man.' ?'She took the stage like a lick of flame,' wrote the 'Daily Express' critic. 'Not since the war have- 1 seen an actress I could call tor rid. Here she is— a girl 1 would queue in the rain for.' Next, a small part, as an 'expendable*? Hollywood starlet, in a West Endper formance of Clifford Odets 'The Big Knife.' This time all the critics wrote about her—picking her out from a cast full of stars. Challenger She became to them 'a potential challenger of Dorothy Tutin. Claire Bloom and Virginia Mc Kenna' and 'the stunning blonde with green eyes, pouting lips, expressive ges tures and brains.' With great solemnity one well-known, critic an nounced he was pleased to note that she 'talked per ceptively' about Proust, Thomas Mann, Tolstoy and Graham Greene. Just before 'The Big Knife,' Diane Cilento hac signed a five-year £11,COO contract with Sir Alexan der Korda. Her first film, «^ttw« iniroi wVin Pawnee
Her Harp.' caused more de light. Now production has begun on 'Passage Home' and she has been men tioned as one of three pos sibilities for the role of ] Mary Magdalene in the Bib lical film, 'The Gallileans.' Doesn't Plan Miss Cilento prefers the stage to films. When chosen as their February Person ality Girl this year, she told Picture Post that she had been * signed for films '?simply because they haven't any blondes with long hair.' Two descriptions of her by others: — A stage critic: ?You see faces. like hers in old masters at the National Gallery.' Actor - producer Sam Wannamaker: 'She has the three dimensions of real success — talent, a unique personality and beauty.' And by herself: 'Yes I like acting. But I don't know what 111 do next I don't plan ahead.'