The Good Companions (1933)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Comedy  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Although a big success when originally released (and remade several times), The Good Companions has not held up particularly well over the years and is of primary interest for its cast. One of the cinema's many backstage musicals, Companions has a plot the elements that have been used time and again, from a chorus girl determined to be a star to a nascent songwriter who falls for her. The screenplay does win a few points, however, for the manner in which it introduces its characters, and the result is that the true star of the picture is not obvious for quite some time. The musical numbers, including "Three Wishes," "I'll Be Happy," and "Lucky for Me," are pleasant and diverting, but hardly striking or original. Fortunately, Jessie Matthews figures prominently in many of the songs, giving them a great boost. Although never a great star abroad, Matthews was beloved by the British public, and it's easy to see why. She positively sparkles, and even when her acting comes across as rather broad, she manages to be appealing. The chance to see a very young John Gielgud in a musical is another drawing card; although he's not exactly at ease in the role, he actually handles it quite well. Even better is the delightful Edmund Gwenn, whose gentle portrayal gathers in strength and helps to anchor the film. These and the other members of the cast make Companions worth catching.