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3.9 out of 5 stars
34
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 22 May 2017
Enjoyable but laboured, musicalised version of J.B. Priestley's story starring Janette Scott. Scott really is the star of the film, showing as much promise and poise here as Natalie Wood was to show many years later in Gypsy. It is one of the mysteries of British and International film-making that Scott did not go on to achieve much greater things. A stellar supporting cast from the great British film repertory - Celia Johnson, Eric Porter, John Fraser, Thora Hird, Joyce Grenfell - contribute lovely cameos in this story of the tribulations of the Dinky Doos, a travelling theatre company. The problem is the mediocre songs keep getting in the way of the story and not even the spectacular dance routines in the film's grand finale really exalt it above the pedestrian. There is much to enjoy here, though, in the characterisations and it is filmed in attractive colour and cinemascope, showing a post-war world soon to disappear forever.
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on 9 November 2013
What a surprise to see this becoming available on DVD - I believe it was never released on VHS.

This film made by The Associated British Picture Corporation in Technicolor and Cinemascope was indeed an ambitious undertaking - but anything "modern" even by 1956 standards begins and ends here. It does not have the style or technical refinements of American musicals of the same period.

However, if you are looking for an old fashioned entertaining British musical comedy with an engaging story line (based on the novel by J B Priestley), some good tunes and some slightly under produced dance routines - this film is for you. Although set in the 1920s the sets and costumes and more in keeping with the mid 1950s, when the film was made.

There are some well known British faces in cameo appearances - Thora Hird (and, indeed, her daughter Janette Scott -who stars in the film) along with Celia Johnson (with an old MG) and Joyce Grenfell to name but a few.

I am giving the film five stars due to its rarity and entertainment value and, at under £10 in price it is a bargain and I would suggest that you buy it without delay as this type of DVD has a tendency to be discontinued rather abruptly.

This review has been made just prior to the DVD release and is based on a TV Broadcast print, which was excellent. There is no reason to doubt that the DVD will be anything less than superb.

Enjoy your viewing!
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on 30 November 2013
This updated film version of Priestley's most popular novel is recommended to anyone who fancies the idea of a British-made pastiche Hollywood musical that might have been produced at any time in the era before the advent of rock and roll. It cannot, on the other hand, be safely recommended to anyone with a deep affection for the novel. They are likely to be dismayed by the way in which the three screenwriters have not merely compressed the narrative (as, inevitably, they have had to do) but played fast and loose with it. Thus the 'back stories' of the three 'angels' who rescue the beleaguered concert party, the Dinky Doos, and help them to success are dealt with so briefly and sketchily that the film seems barely to have started before The Good Companions, as they are renamed, are all back on the road together. Whole swathes of characters and incidents are jettisoned or altered to make way for a lengthy, if spectacular, finale in which the young heroine, Susie Dean, goes 'Round The World' in front of a glitzy West End audience. But to be fair, a film can't all be bad when it includes in its cast Celia Johnson (Miss Trant, often sounding uncannily like The Queen), Eric Portman (a rather brusque Jess Oakroyd) and Janette Scott (an excellent Susie Dean, a part originally intended to be played by Audrey Hepburn). Moreover, they are supported by a whole raft of familiar and reliable character actors. Throw in a few at least half-decent song and dance numbers, good production values, an excellent colour transfer and it would be churlish not to allow this version some merit. A critical and commercial failure at the time of its release it can now be viewed as a likeable period piece. The original film version of 1933 (newly-available although in a Region 1 format) and the 1980 television version remain preferred as more faithful to the novel.
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on 5 September 2014
An enjoyable, undemanding film, with an excellent cast of first rate actors: Celia Johnson, Hugh Griffith, Rachel Roberts, Eric Portman, Thora Hird, Fabia Drake, Janette Scott, John Fraser, John Le Mesurier, Mona Washbourne and the wonderful Joyce Grenfell. If you watch closely, you may also catch sight of George Woodbridge, Melvyn Hayes, Brian Oulton, Shirley Anne Field and the ultimate in bit-part actresses, Marianne Stone. This film is unlikely to set your heart racing, and the direction and script are nothing to write home about, but if you would like some old-fashioned entertainment, superbly performed, then this might hit the spot. Also, the quality of the picture and sound on the DVD is excellent, which is why I've given it four stars.
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If you like this film (and it certainly has it's flaws in casting, script and direction and was described by it's leading Man as a disappointing failure) you will certainly not complain about this first rate audio and video transfer. The aspect ratio is the original CinemaScope - the definition is excellent and the colour saturation and black levels first rate. Although it's fun "star spotting" in the minor roles eg Rachael Roberts belts out a musical number, Anthony Newley makes a tiny appearance and Shirley Anne Field stands around decorously - sort of thing - as a whole the film sadly doesn't work. It bombed at the box office on its release and one can understand why. So this is for die-hard fans only. And I don't mean those of Bruce Willis's films!! Still to give it the two stars it probably deserves (and mostly got!) seems churlish!
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on 18 November 2013
I'm not familiar with J B Priestley's novel, and one reviewer has suggested that the original story suffers in this version, but don't be put off by that - this musical version of "The Good Companions" is a brilliant nostalgic gem of 1950's entertainment. The story line has actually been updated to contemporary times, so it's a realistic snapshot of life in a variety troupe struggling with falling audiences, the advent of television and just prior to the onslaught of rock and roll.

The cast is absolutely fabulous, Janette Scott proves to be quite a dancer and is a real stunner to look at. She is well matched by handsome John Fraser as her leading man and romantic interest and is ably supported by the host of familiar faces - Eric Portman, Celia Johnson, Rachel Roberts, Shirley Anne Field, Joyce Grenfell, John Le Mesurier, Thora Hird, and Fabia Drake, all very good in their respective roles and all looking lovely in colour.

The Technicolour is excellent, and the use of CinemaScope is imaginative and compliments the action very well. It's a real feel-good film, made with affection and humour. Good songs and excellent choreography, the big numbers are lavishly staged and every bit as good as Hollywood could do at the time. Good sets too and the photography is unusually imaginative.

Network have done a superb job on the transfer, excellent audio and visual quality that couldn't be bettered.

This is a really lovely film, It runs 100 minutes and I was sorry when it ended. It holds your interest throughout.
100% enjoyment is guaranteed with this one!
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on 22 April 2015
I am a little disappointed in the fact that this DVD is in colour and not black and white never mind I shall still enjoy it, the film is around a group of end of the pier players, it lookes like they are going to have to finish when their manager runs of with the takings, this film is about how they pull things round.
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on 26 December 2013
A good English film of the old school, with stars who were just starting in many cases., enjoyable! Who would expect to find Janette Scott, Thora Hird, Celia Johnson and Joyce Grenfell, in the same film as Anthony Newley.
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on 23 December 2013
Although somewhat dated and a bit glorified Hollywood ! i enjoyed it and glad i purchased it. Its a great story and lovely character parts for well known faces of British cinema and theatre. Pure entertainment.. Enjoy
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on 17 February 2017
an excellent purchase which I enjoyed as a bygone era. With a bonus as the music from Laurie Johnson (who wrote the music for the Steed/Avengers TV series,, plenty of humour. Slight disappointing with the ending as that is not a stage show.
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