Did Joan Rice Pass Her Driving Test?

This photograph of Joan Rice (1930-1937) is said to have been taken in 1951 and has raised a number of questions. She is leaning against the British School of Motoring's Austin A40 Devon, a four door saloon. Had she just passed her driving test?

Joan played the part of Maid Marian in Walt Disney's live-action movie the Story of Robin Hood  and his Merrie Men (1952) and this blog is dedicated to her memory.We know from Ken Annakin's autobiography So You Wanna Be A Director that during the making of Robin Hood, Joan was cycling to Denham Film Studios in the early months of 1951. He says:

Joan used to ride a bicycle to and from the local hotel and between shots would go speeding around the Denham lot. Nearly every day she fell off and came back bruised and some part of her costume hanging loose. One evening I saw her standing forlornly outside the studio door, and took pity on her. "Where's your bike?" I called."Smashed up, as usual, she grinned guiltily..."

Also in the short promotional film The Riddle of Robin Hood we get a glimpse of 'our Joan' riding through Denham's security gate and into the studio grounds. So, was this just an advertisement for the British School of Motoring? Or did Joan pass her driving test after Robin Hood had been made? Perhaps one of our readers can help.


Clement Glen said...

Special thanks to Neil for making me aware of this photo.

I love those old cars and wish the roads were as quiet as they were back in 1951!

Neil said...

I hope she has just passed her test in this picture taken it would seem at the time she was filming The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Man.
I think she would have been a good driver. I wonder where she lived then. I know she did live later in Maidenhead not far from Denham where she would be filming. So much we don't know and yet so much we do know compared to a few years ago when nothing had been heard of Joan Rice for years. Well done Clement for helping us all learn so much more about Joan Rice.