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Dear Octopus (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dear Octopus
"Dear Octopus" (1943 film).jpg
Directed byHarold French
Written byPatrick Kirwan
R. J. Minney
Esther McCracken (adaptation)
Based onthe play by Dodie Smith
Produced byEdward Black
StarringMargaret Lockwood
Michael Wilding
Celia Johnson
CinematographyArthur Crabtree
Edited byMichael C. Chorlton
Music byHubert Bath
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
  • 20 September 1943 (1943-09-20) (UK)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Dear Octopus is a 1943 British comedy film directed by Harold French and starring Margaret Lockwood, Michael Wilding and Celia Johnson.[1] It is based on a 1938 play, Dear Octopus, written by Dodie Smith. It was also released as The Randolph Family.[2]

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Well-to-do couple Dora and Charles Randolph are celebrating their golden wedding, and three generations meet at the Randolph country home. As the relatives gather, each reveals his or her personal quirks and shortcomings. Caught in the middle is family secretary Penny Fenton (Margaret Lockwood), who has the unenviable task of sorting and smoothing out the family's deep-set hostilities and jealousies so that a good time can be had by all.[3][4]



Lockwood made it after The Man in Grey in the spring of 1943. She wrote in her memoirs that "there had been some trouble over the script of this film. Neither Herbert [her agent] nor I had considered the part which was offered to me sufficiently good. After much arguing my part was built up, but even so I was not pleased with the film, and felt that for me it had been a backward step."[5]

Harold French later said "I'd liked the play and thought I could make a picture of it and I think I did some of it well." He called it "a lovely film to make, very harmonious cast. I was delighted to get away from war films and make something light and frothy. It was just what the public wanted."[6]

Critical reception

TV Guide described the film as a "routine English comedy of manners", but added, "it has its moments";[7] while Allmovie wrote "the film is variations on a single theme, albeit consistently amusing ones."[8]

Box office

Kinematograph Weekly listed a series of films that were "runners up" in its survey of the most popular films in Britain in 1943: The Gentle Sex, The Lamp Still Burns, Dear Octopus and The Adventures of Tartu.[9]


  1. ^ "Dear Octopus". BFI. Archived from the original on 13 January 2009.
  2. ^ Vagg, Stephen (29 January 2020). "Why Stars Stop Being Stars: Margaret Lockwood". Filmink.
  3. ^ "Dear Octopus". BFI. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012.
  4. ^ "The Randolph Family (1943) – Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie.
  5. ^ Lockwood, Margaret (1955). Lucky Star: The Autobiography of Margaret Lockwood. Odhams Press Limited. pp. 99–100.
  6. ^ mcFarlane, Brian (1997). An autobiography of British cinema : as told by the filmmakers and actors who made it. Metheun. p. 212.
  7. ^ "The Randolph Family". TV Guide.
  8. ^ "The Randolph Family (1943) – Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie.
  9. ^ Lant, Antonia (1991). Blackout : reinventing women for wartime British cinema. Princeton University Press. p. 231.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 June 2023, at 13:48
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