The Good Companions

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Priestley's novel is given a Technicolor and CinemaScope update making it far plusher than the tightly budgeted 1933 version. This time Johnson, Portman and Fraser are the spinster, the bluff Northerner and the teacher who bring new life to the Dinky Doos pierrot troupe, and put youngster Scott's name up in lights. It doesn't have quite the same charm as the earlier adaptation, but is solidly done all the same, with a regiment of familiar faces in the minor roles.

Release details

Duration: 104 mins

Cast and crew

Director: J Lee Thompson
Screenwriter: TJ Morrison
Cast: Celia Johnson
Eric Portman
John Fraser
Janette Scott
Hugh Griffith
Joyce Grenfell
Rachel Roberts
Thora Hird
Mona Washbourne
Alec McCowen
John Le Mesurier
Anthony Newley
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Frank B

This film - difficult to obtain - is a truly awful relic of a difficult period in British films. Despite a really strong cast, it is a sorry, garish effort to turn J. B. Priestley's much-loved novel into a backstage musical with a "modern" feel. The musical numbers are a sad take on the style of Metro musicals - lots of the conventions but none of the talent. (The script and score are unrelated to the much superior Andre Previn-Johnny Mercer stage musical of a few years later which played London with John Mills and Judi Dench in the leads.) I wonder what people made of this dismal effort when it was released. I hope it will not put anybody who finds it off discovering - or re-discovering - the delightful novel.

Frank B

This film - difficult to obtain - is a truly awful relic of a difficult period in British films. Despite a really strong cast, it is a sorry, garish effort to turn J. B. Priestley's much-loved novel into a backstage musical with a "modern" feel. The musical numbers are a sad take on the style of Metro musicals - lots of the conventions but none of the talent. (The script and score are unrelated to the much superior Andre Previn-Johnny Mercer stage musical of a few years later which played London with John Mills and Judi Dench in the leads.) I wonder what people made of this dismal effort when it was released. I hope it will not put anybody who finds it off discovering - or re-discovering - the delightful novel.