The Good Companions (1933 film)

The Good Companions is a 1933 British comedy film directed by Victor Saville starring Jessie Matthews, John Gielgud and Edmund Gwenn.[1] It is based on the 1929 novel of the same name by J.B. Priestley.[2]

The Good Companions
"The Good Companions" (1933 film).jpg
U.S. film poster
Directed byVictor Saville
Produced byMichael Balcon
Louis Levy
George Pearson
Thomas Welsh
Written byIan Dalrymple
Edward Knoblock
W. P. Lipscomb
Angus MacPhail
Based onThe Good Companions
by J.B. Priestley
StarringJessie Matthews
John Gielgud
Edmund Gwenn
Music byGeorge Posford
Douglas Furber
CinematographyBernard Knowles
Edited byFrederick Y. Smith
Distributed byIdeal (UK)
Fox Film Corporation (USA)
Release date
  • 28 February 1933 (1933-02-28) (London, UK)
Running time
113 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


Gielgud had appeared in the 1931 theatrical version of the novel, written by Priestley, which had ran for more than three hundred performances in the West End. Adele Dixon who had played Susie Dean on stage was replaced by Jessie Matthews.

It was shot at the Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd's Bush. The film's sets were designed by the art director Alfred Junge while the costumes were by Gordon Conway. Henry Ainley narrated the prologue.


A group of widely divergent characters meet up with a broken-down touring concert-party, throw in their lot with them, and eventually triumph after temporary setbacks.[3] This British musical-comedy follows an unlikely trio as they try to revive the fortunes of the floundering theatrical troupe. School teacher Inigo Jolifant (John Gielgud)[4] with his talent for songwriting, and recently unemployed Jess Oakroyd (Edmund Gwenn) with his theatrical ambitions, together persuade Miss Trant (Mary Glynne), an older single woman looking for adventure, to fund them as they attempt to bring "The Dinky Doos" back into the spotlight. Susie Dean (Jessie Matthews) is a chorus girl who dreams of stardom, and when she's made the new leader of the show, it looks as if her dreams may finally come true.[5]


Critical receptionEdit

In comparing the film to the book, The New York Times critic Mordaunt Hall wrote, "It is, indeed, a better production than was to be expected, for, while there are omissions and a certain hastening of parts of the narrative, the cheery personalities are present and in good form," and concluded, "Miss Matthews sings pleasingly and dances gracefully, while Mr. Gielgud's portrayal is extraordinarily real. It is one of those stories which is all the more worth while for having been made in England, for, aside from the naturalness of the players, there are the scenes of country houses and hedged roads, which add to the general effect of the picture";[6] whereas Time Out wrote, "Saville's direction is adequate rather than inspired, but he elicits marvellous performances from his disparate cast. Matthews' portrayal of a bubblingly neurotic soubrette is wonderful, and not surprisingly shot her to stardom. The film does feed on rather than explore the twee camaraderie of the provincial touring company, but an English backstage musical as witty and well-handled as this is something to be thankful for indeed";[7] and Leonard Maltin called it "a delightful film. Matthews is given full rein to display her considerable musical and comedic charms; Gielgud is equally humorous and surprising. He even sings!"[8]


  1. ^ "The Good Companions (1933) - Victor Saville - Cast and Crew - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  2. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Good Companions, The (1933)".
  3. ^ "The Good Companions | BFI | BFI". Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  4. ^ Hall, Mordaunt (2011). "New York Times: The Good Companions". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 20 May 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  5. ^ Hall, Mordaunt (2014). "The-Good-Companions - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Movie Reviews". 24 December 2020 – via
  7. ^ "The Good Companions". Time Out Worldwide.
  8. ^ "The Good Companions (1933) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies.

External linksEdit