Melissa Stribling Smith|
7 November 1926
22 March 1992 (aged 65)|
Watford, Hertfordshire, England
Melissa Stribling (7 November 1926 - 22 March 1992) was a Scottish film and television actress.
Born in Gourock, Scotland as Melissa Stribling Smith, her career began with the film Wide Boy (1952). Stribling is known for playing the role of Mina Holmwood in the horror film Dracula (1958) starring Christopher Lee in the title role. In the 1960s and 1970s, she guest-starred in the TV series Benny Hill (1963), ITV Play of the Week, The Avengers, The Persuaders!, The Dick Emery Show, and The New Avengers. Her last appearance was in the film Paris by Night (1988) with Charlotte Rampling.
In the film Dracula, her character was the victim of a vampire in what can be seen as an erotically charged performance. Dracula and Mina showing sexual pleasure in this way was a first in British cinema.
Terence Fisher remembers her asking him how to play the scene. Terence replied, saying that she should imagine that she had one whale of a sexual night and that it should be shown on her face. The author Mark Clark detailed the first encounter between Dracula and Mina in his book Smirk, sneer, and scream: great acting in horror cinema which he described as an implied erotic scene. Jonathan Rigby complimented her performance in his book English gothic: a century of horror cinema, saying that she is a terrific female lead throughout the film. Terence Fisher said that he told her that she produced a satisfied little facial expression that speaks volumes.
She was married to Basil Dearden; their son is James Dearden, also a film director. Their younger son is Torquil Dearden, a London-based editor at a company specialising in commercials and corporate videos.
- 1952: Wide Boy - Caroline
- 1952: Crow Hollow - Diana Wilson
- 1952: Ghost Ship - Party Girl (Vera)
- 1953: Decameron Nights - Girl in Villa
- 1953: Noose for a Lady - Vanessa Lane
- 1954: Thought to Kill - Mary
- 1955: Out of the Clouds - Jean Osmond
- 1956: Behind the Headlines - Mary Carrick
- 1957: Murder Reported - Amanda North
- 1958: The Safecracker - Angela
- 1958: Dracula - Mina Holmwood
- 1960: The League of Gentlemen - Peggy
- 1961: The Secret Partner - Helen Standish
- 1968: Only When I Larf - Diana
- 1968: Journey into Darkness - Helen Ames (episode 'The New People')
- 1970: The Persuaders! - (episode "Powerswitch")
- 1971: Crucible of Terror - Joanna Brent
- 1974: Confessions of a Window Cleaner - Mrs. Villiers
- 1976: Feelings - Charlotte Randall
- 1988: Paris by Night - Lady Boeing (final film role)
- Pendreigh, Brian (10 May 2008). "Once bitten...", Herald Scotland; retrieved 30 May 2015.
- BFI biodata
- Kinsey, Wayne (2002). Hammer films: the Bray Studio years. Reynolds & Hearn. ISBN 978-1-903111-44-4.
- J. Hogan, David (1997). Dark romance: sexuality in the horror film. McFarland. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-7864-0474-2. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
- Harper, Sue; Porter, Vincent (2007). British Cinema of the 1950s: The Decline of Deference. Oxford University Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-19-815935-3. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
- Hutchings, Peter (2001). Terence Fisher. Manchester University Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-7190-5637-6. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
- Clark, Mark (2004). Smirk, sneer, and scream: great acting in horror cinema. McFarland. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-7864-1932-6. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
- Rigby, Jonathan (2004). English gothic: a century of horror cinema. Reynolds & Hearn. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-903111-79-6. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
- Quinlan, David (1983). The illustrated guide to film directors. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-389-20408-4. Retrieved 16 June 2010.