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Diamond City (film)

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Diamond City
Directed byDavid MacDonald
Screenplay byRoland Pertwee
Based onstory "Digger's Republic" by Roger Bray
Produced byAlex Bryce
A. Frank Bundy
StarringDavid Farrar
Honor Blackman
Diana Dors
Niall MacGinnis
CinematographyReginald H. Wyer
Edited byEsmond Seal
Music byClifton Parker
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors
Release date
21 September 1949
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£97,000 (by 1953)[1]

Diamond City is a 1949 British drama film directed by David MacDonald and starring David Farrar, Honor Blackman, Diana Dors and Niall MacGinnis.


In 1870s South Africa, Englishman Stafford Parker tries to persuade Boer leader Jan Bloem to hand over control of a potential diamond field. This upsets Bloem's nephew Piet Quieman and businessman Muller; Muller has made his fortune through selling cheap rum to black workers.

New arrivals come to Hopetown: a missionary, Hart, and his daughter Mary, and David Raymond. A diamond is found on Bloem's territory. Parker persuades Bloem that he can maintain law and order and Bloem picks Parker over Piet and Muller.

Parker and a number of people from Hopetown set up a new establishment at Klipdrift. Muller tries to cause trouble but Parker beats him in a fight.

Klipdrift becomes a thriving town. David Raymond suspects Muller is buying diamonds directly from the natives, going around Parker's arrangement with Bloem. Eventually Parker confronts Muller who denies it.

Parker calls for a rule book to be drawn up and grows closer to Mary which causes saloon keeper Dora to be jealous.

Parker helps declare the first Diggers' Republic. Muller organises resistance but Parker defeats him. Parker realises that Mary has fallen for David. The diamond fields are annexed by Britain. Parker leaves to seek gold in some nearby mountains, leaving Dora.




The movie was based on the true story of Stafford Parker[2] who was elected president of the Diamond Diggers Republic in 1871.[3][4]

It was announced 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. "He'd knocked around in the States as a young man and was tremendously impressed by the sheriff system, as he'd seen it practiced in the West."[5] Patricia Roc was to play the Salvation Army girl with whom Parker falls in love.[6] However Roc was named in a divorce case involving Fay Compton and Gainsborough reportedly dropped her from the film as a result.[7]

Eventually the make starring role was given to David Farrar who had received acclaim for his performance in Black Narcissus. It was directed by David MacDonald, who had just directed The Bad Lord Byron and Christopher Columbus for Gainsborough. Diana Dors played the role of the saloon keeper when Jean Kent was unavailable.[8] It was Dors' biggest part to date.[9][10] Dors says she was paid £30 under her contract to Rank and Farrar received £18,000 but she did not mind as it was "the biggest break of my career".[11]

The film was seen as an attempt by producer Sydney Box to compete with Eureka Stockade (1949), another British film set and shot in a former colony.[12]


It combined location filming in the Kimberley region of South Africa with studio work at Denham Studios in England.[13]

MacDonald arrived in South Africa in November 1948 for location filming. This was meant to take 25 days but MacDonald finished it in 12, due to him using only local crew.[14] Studio work began at Denham in January 1949.[15] The film's sets were designed by the art director George Provis.

Filming was held up when David Farrar fell ill.[16]

Bombardier Billy Wells taught Farrar how to box for the film.[17]


The film's box office performance was poor.[1]

Filmink called it "a hilariously inept version of a fascinating true tale... with David Farrar as a gun-totin’ Stafford Parker, Diana Dors and Honor Blackman perfectly cast if just five years older, and extremely dodgy racial politics (if you wonder why Farrar didn’t become a star after Black Narcissus, this film is part of the reason)."[18] Other reviews were more positive. BFI's Screenonline notes that the film 'makes good use of [David Farrar's] particular brand of sensual virility as Stafford Parker' and adds that 'Diana Dors makes the most of one of her biggest roles to date... She pulls this off with surprising conviction'. [19]


  1. ^ a b Andrew Spicer, Sydney Box Manchester Uni Press 2006 p 211
  2. ^ "Healesville Talkies". Healesville Guardian. Lilydale, Vic.: National Library of Australia. 12 July 1952. p. 3. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Stafford Parker – KAAPSCHE HOOP CHARACTERS OF THE EARLY DAYS", Mapumalanga Happenings accessed 27 Jan 2014
  4. ^ Jade Davenport, "A question of sovereignty over South Africa's earliest diamond diggings" Mining Weekly 28 May 2010 accessed 27 Jan 2014
  5. ^ "NOTES FROM LONDON'S FILM STUDIOS: Thriller What, No Love Affair?" by C.A. LEJEUNE. New York Times 23 Dec 1945: X5.
  6. ^ Hodgson, Michael (September 2013). Patricia Roc The Goddess of the Odeons. p. 89. ISBN 9781481769402.
  7. ^ "STUDIO COMEBACK". The Daily News. LXIV (22, 294). Western Australia. 21 September 1946. p. 23 (FIRST EDITION). Retrieved 7 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ Diamond City at BFI Screenonline
  9. ^ "Prize-winning Biscuits..." The Argus (Melbourne) (31, 943). Victoria, Australia. 18 January 1949. p. 3 (The Argus Woman's Magazine). Retrieved 1 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ Vagg, Stephen (7 September 2020). "A Tale of Two Blondes: Diana Dors and Belinda Lee". Filmink.
  11. ^ Dors, Diana (1960). Swingin' Dors. World Distributors. p. 25.
  12. ^ "Film Gossip From London And Hollywood CHALLENGE TO EUREKA BY OLD RIVAL". The Sunday Times. Perth: National Library of Australia. 2 October 1949. p. 2 Supplement: Sunday Times Comics. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  13. ^ "400 Horsemen". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 11 January 1949. p. 3 Supplement: The Argus Woman's Magazine. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Fast action on S Africa diamond film". Variety. 19 January 1949. p. 11.
  15. ^ "SCREEN AND ITS STARS". Warwick Daily News (9177). Queensland, Australia. 3 January 1949. p. 3. Retrieved 30 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ "FILM CLOSE-UPS". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 26 February 1949. p. 2 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  17. ^ "NOVELLO HIT TO BE SCREENED". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 23 April 1949. p. 3 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  18. ^ Vagg, Stephen (17 May 2020). "Roast Beef Westerns". Filmink.
  19. ^ http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/1174593/index.html. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
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Diamond City (film)
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