Good Companions (1956 with Eric Portman and Celia Johnson)

UK / 1956

Director: J Lee Thompson
Writer: TJ Morrison, JL Hodson, John Whiting, based on the novel by JB Priestley

Cast: Eric Portman, Celia Johnson, Hugh Griffith, Janette Scott, John Fraser, Bobby Howes, Rachel Roberts, John Salew, Mona Washbourne, Paddy Stone, Irving Davis, Shirley Ann Field, Margaret Simons, Kim Parker, Beryl Kaye, Thora Hird, Beatrice Varley, Alec McCowen, Jimmy Carroll,

The second cinematic version of JB Priestley’s immensely popular and charming story about a decidedly lacklustre touring theatre company that finds redemption and success when spinster Celia Johnson decides that she will help them out of their slough and teacher John Fraser realises his abilities as a songwriter.

Hugh Griffiths, Mona Washbourne, Rachel Roberts, Bobby Howes and John Salew are the members of the Dinky Doos touring company who have come to the end of the road when their funds run out. However, spinster Johnson sees some mysterious talent in the company that is totally imperceptable to the rest of the world – especially theatre-goers. Urged on by rough-hewn odd-job man Eric Portman, she bankrolls the Dinky Doos – now renamed the Good Companions – through a number of low-rent engagements in which the comapany seeks to discover their hidden talents. These gradually come to the fore when the company’s ingenue leadinging lady/singer Janette Scott, is teamed with tyro songwriter Frazer and the Dinky Doos are perceived to have something more than simple talentless determination. Finally, Scott and Frazer get their shot at a date in the West End. However, in the past the company has run afoul of thugs determined to gain revenge by ruining Scott’s big night…

Said Variety : “Miss Scott makes a refreshing and appealing showing as the concert party star with ambitions…” and Both Eric Portman and Miss Johnson add dignity to the story…”

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