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Good Companions, The (1933)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Jess Oakroyd, a Yorkshire joiner, finds home life unbearable since his beloved daughter, Lil, went to Canada. One day Jess is unjustly discharged from his job. His sharp-tongued wife is not sympathetic. Deciding to leave home that very night, Jess accepts the offer of a lift on a lorry going south, only to discover that he is being driven by a pair of crooks, who steal his savings. Jess, however, reaches the Rawsley road.

Inigo Jollifant, in his first term as schoolmaster at a preparatory school in Cambridgeshire, finds Mrs. Tarvin, the disagreeable wife of the headmaster, intolerable. Inigo celebrates on the night of his birthday. Mrs. Tarvin arrives unexpectedly, and he speaks his mind. He has to leave in a hurry! At a railway junction, Inigo meets Morton Mitcham, an American trouper, who has toured the world with his banjo. Mitcham is going to Rawsley, a small Midland town, to join the 'Dinky Doos' concert party, and Inigo is persuaded to accompany him.

Young, single Miss Trant finds herself without any ties on the death of her beloved father. She decides to leave Gloucestershire, and drives away in a second-hand Morris car to find adventure. Her car is mistaken for another, identical in appearance, and she makes some unusual new acquaintances. She promises to take some money and clothes to Elsie Longstaffe, a member of the 'Dinky Doos' concert party, now stranded at Rawsley, but her car breaks down on the road. Jess Oakroyd comes to the rescue, and they travel together to Rawsley.

Once there, Miss Trant, Jess, Inigo, and Morton Mitcham find the 'Dinky Doos' in despair. Jimmy Nunn, comedian and manager of the troupe, tells them that the sponsor has bolted with all the cash. The soubrette is Susie Dean, who declares that she is married to her art. Jerry Jerningham is the light comedian and tap dancer, and the ballad singers are Mr. And Mrs. Joe Brundit.

Miss Trant generously settles their bill with the landlady, and at dinner at the Royal Standard, Rawsley, impulsively undertakes to back the concert party for ten weeks. Jess is signed up as stage carpenter, Inigo becomes the pianist, and the party blossoms under a new name - 'The Good Companions'.

After many ups and downs, in which the unfortunate players are at the mercy of the weather, 'The Good Companions' become a great success and make a triumphant tour of Derbyshire. Inigo, meanwhile, has fallen hopelessly in love with Susie, who still insists on being wedded to her art. An excellent pianist, Inigo has developed a latent talent for composing, and writes a special song for Susie, who has become the star of the concert party.

But 'The Good Companions' are due for their first serious setback. At Gatford an unscrupulous theatre owner, Mr. Ridvers, is hard hit by the success of the concert party and plans revenge. Inigo?s songs create a good impression and secure for him an introduction to a leading firm of musical publishers in London. He goes to the publishers the next morning, which happens to be Susie?s birthday. Here he meets Monty Mortimer, the famous theatre impresario, who is delighted with the songs, and wants them for his next revue. Inigo will sell them only on condition that Mortimer comes to see Susie at Gatford that night, and Mortimer agrees.

At Gatford, Susie celebrates her twenty-first birthday, with 'The Good Companions'. Then, she pretends to have heart trouble, in order to reunite Miss Trant and her old sweetheart, Dr. Macfarlane. Although angry with Inigo for missing her party, she is overjoyed he is bringing Monty Mortimer to see her act.

Mr. Ridvers has chosen this of all evenings to disrupt the show. Before Susie has finished her new song, someone sets fire to the theatre. The fire is checked, and the audience yells for its favourite, Susie - by now in her dressing room in tears. Inigo carries her to the stage. The song is a hit.

Miss Trant and Dr. Macfarlane are reunited. Susie achieves the ambition of her life - to see her name in lights in Shaftesbury Avenue. Inigo finds a job after his own heart, that of conducting a big orchestra. The rest of the 'Companions' continue to make a hit at Bournemouth. Jess, leaves for Canada, to join his daughter in a new life.