16 May 2014

Dawn Addams

British actress Dawn Addams (1930-1985) launched her film career in Hollywood and later appeared in many European films of the 1950s and 1960s as an icy, unobtainable beauty. She worked with major directors like Otto Preminger, Charles Chaplin and Fritz Lang, but despite this she had a rather undistinguished film career, in which second-rate pictures outnumbered far the quality ones.

Dawn Addams
French postcard by Edition du Globe (E.D.U.G.), Paris, no. 693. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Dawn Addams
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3862. Photo: Georg Michalke / Ufa.

Dawn Addams
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 2270. Photo: Halsman / Imperial-Translux / Herzog-Film.

Dawn Addams
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 2240. Photo: Vivienne / Imperial-Translux / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Der Rommel-Schatz/Il tesoro di Rommel/Rommel's Treasure (Romolo Marcellini, 1955).

Dawn Addams
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 563, offered by Les carbones Korès 'Carboplane'. Photo: United Artists. Publicity still for The Moon is Blue (Otto Preminger, 1953).

More Decorous Than Substantial

Victoria Dawn Addams was born in Felixstowe, England, in 1930. She was the daughter of Captain James Ramage Addams, a R.A.F. officer, and Ethel Mary Addams-Hickie. Her mother died when she was young, and Dawn spent her early life in Calcutta, India.

She studied acting in London and started her career working for a travelling theatre company. In 1949 she made her London debut in the farce Charley’s Aunt. Her beauty and physique soon attracted the attention of talent agents.

In 1950 she left for Hollywood to star in MGM movies. Her film debut was a supporting part in Night Into Morning (Fletcher Markle, 1951), an intimate drama about alcoholism starring Ray Milland.

She also appeared in the film noir The Unknown Man (Richard Thorpe, 1951) with Walter Pidgeon, the Victorian thriller The Hour of 13 (Harold French, 1952) opposite Peter Lawford, and Plymouth Adventure (Clarence Brown, 1952) with Spencer Tracy - the story of the Mayflower in its historic voyage across the Atlantic to the New World.

In 1952, Addams auditions for a role in Limelight (Charlie Chaplin, 1953). Although she doesn’t get the part (it goes to Claire Bloom), she becomes friends with Charlie and Oona Chaplin

Her roles were more decorous than substantial. Probably her best Hollywood film was the risqué (for its time) comedy The Moon Is Blue (Otto Preminger, 1953) starring William Holden, David Niven and Maggie McNamara. She also appeared in a supporting part in the German version, Die Jungfrau auf dem Dach (Otto Preminger, 1953), with Hardy Krüger, Johannes Heesters and Johanna Matz. She is the only player who appears in both versions because most of her dialog is on the telephone, thus it can easily be dubbed into German. The Moon is Blue helped to end the system of self-censorship of Hollywood films, which had been in place since 1934.

In 1953 Dawn also embarked on a USO tour to help entertain the troops in Korea, followed by a small but heavily publicized role as Richard Carlson's model girlfriend in the Sci-Fi film Riders to the Stars (Richard Carlson, 1954).

Dawn Addams
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK 173. Photo: Fried Agency / Ufa.

Dawn Addams
Belgian collector's card, no. 68.

Dawn Addams
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 25. Photo: Klaus Collignon.

Dawn Addams
French postcard by St. Anne, Marseille. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Dawn Addams
French postcard by Editions P.I., no. 1068. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Was Her Beauty Too Smooth?

Dawn Addams returned to Europe to continue her film career. In Italy she starred in the sensational war film Mizar/Frogwoman (Francesco De Robertis, 1954). Thanks to her lofty family lineage, she moved in the best social circles. During the production of Mizar she met the Prince of Roccasecca de Volsci, Don Vittorio Massimo, and married him. They settle at his castle in Scorona, 20 miles outside Rome.

In the following years she appeared in several second-rate pictures but also played in a few quality films including Charles Chaplin's bitter comedy A King In New York (1956), "wherein Dawn had her best role as an American commercial actress", according to Hal Erickson at AllMovie.

She played opposite Laurence Harvey in the war film The Silent Enemy (William Fairchild, 1958), and opposite Brigitte Bardot in Voulez-vous danser avec moi?/Come Dance with Me! (Michel Boisrond, 1959).

The following year she starred in the thriller Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse/The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960), the last film of director Fritz Lang.

Despite this she had an undistinguished film career, in which second-rate pictures far outnumbered the quality ones. “Was her beauty too smooth or were her acting talents limited or both?”, asks reviewer Guy Bellinger on IMDb.

In the early 1960s Dawn appeared in a some more good films, including The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (Terence Fisher, 1960) starring Paul Massie and Christopher Lee, the Gustave Flaubert adaptation L’éducation sentimentale/Sentimental Education (Alexandre Astruc, 1962) with Jean-Claude Brialy, the swashbuckler La tulipe noire/The Black Tulip (Christian-Jaque, 1964) starring Alain Delon, and the swinging-sixties-London-cheesecake Ballad in Blue (1964, Paul Henreid), top-billing soul singer Ray Charles as himself.

From then on she mostly appeared on television, for example in series like Danger Man (1964), The Saint (1963-1966) - which starred Roger Moore as Simon Templar, the sitcom Father Dear Father (1971-1973), the campy sci-fi serial Star Maidens (1977), the soap opera Crossroads (1977), and finally Triangle (1983), a series about the crew and passengers of a North Sea ferry, on the triangular route between Felixstowe, Gothenburg and Amsterdam.

Her last feature film was the B-film The Vault of Horror (Roy Ward Baker, 1973).

She was married twice. From 1954 till 1971 she was married to Don Vittorio Emanuele Massimo. They had one son, Prince Stefano Massimo (1955). After their separation they had a much publicized feud about their son. In 1974 Addams married Jimmy White.

In 1985, Dawn Addams died from cancer in London.

Roger Moore and Dawn Addams in The Saint
Spanish postcard by Postal Oscarcolor, no. 553. Publicity still for The Saint (1963-1966) with Roger Moore.

Dawn Addams
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3960. Retail price: 25 Pfg. Photo: Unitalia Film.

Dawn Addams, Peter van Eyck
German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 2852. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Alfa / Prisma. Publicity still for Geheimaktion Schwarze Kapelle/The Black Chapel (Ralph Habib, 1959) with Peter van Eyck.

Trailer of Hot Money Girl (1959) with Eddie Constantine. Source: Ourmaninhavanna (YouTube).

Trailer of The Vampire Lovers (1970) with Ingrid Pitt and Peter Cushing. Source: Lv99Slacker (YouTube).

Sources: Collector’s card, Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Guy Bellinger (IMDb), Film Reference, Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, Wikipedia, and IMDb.


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鲁涵淞 said...