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Good Companions (1956, Eric Portman, Celia Johnson)

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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…’

production details
UK | 104 minutes | 1957

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

cast
Janette Scott as Susie Dean
Richard Leech as Jack Ridvers
Hugh Griffith as Morton Mitcham
Melvyn Hayes as Telegraph Boy
John Salew as Mr. Joe
Anthony Newley as Maurice Milbrau
Eric Portman as Jess Oakroyd
John Fraser as Inigo Jollifant
Beatrice Varley as Mrs Carrie Nunn
Jeremy Burnham as Felton
Thora Hird as Mrs Oakroyd
Olwen Brookes as Woman on Tram
George Rose as Theatre Manager
Richard Thorp as David
George Woodbridge as Ripe Gentleman
Celia Johnson as Miss Trant
Joyce Grenfell as Lady Parlitt
Bobby Howes as Jimmy Nunn
Rachel Roberts as Elsie and Effie Longstaff
Mona Washbourne as Mrs. Joe
Paddy Stone as Jerry Jerningham
Carole Lesley as Film Star (as Leslie Carroll)
Irving Davies as Dancer
Shirley Anne Field as Redhead – Three Graces
Margaret Simons as Blonde – Three Graces
Kim Parker as Brunette – Three Graces
Marianne Stone as Marilyn, Honeymoon Couple
Brian Oulton as Fauntley
Beryl Kaye as Dancer
Alec McCowen as Albert Oakroyd
Jimmy Carro as Leonard
Anna Turner as Daisy
Fabia Drake as Mrs Tarvin
Lloyd Pearson as Mr Tarvin
Ralph Truman as George Memsford
John Le Mesurier as Monte Mortimer
Max Butterfield as Reggie, Honeymoon Couple
Agnes Bernelle as Ethel Georgia
Nicholas Bruce as Chauffeur
Larry Cross as TV Commentator
Shane Cordell as Secretary
Tom Gill as Friend of Critic
Marjorie Rhodes as Mrs Mounder
Barbara Archer as Barmaid
Ian Wilson as Mr Droke
Claude Bonser as Pit Man