So Well Remembered

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So Well Remembered
Theatrical poster
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Produced by Adrian Scott
Written by James Hilton (novel)
John Paxton
Starring John Mills
Martha Scott
Trevor Howard
Music by Hanns Eisler
Cinematography Freddie Young
Edited by Harry W. Gerstad
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
July 8, 1947 (UK)
November 4, 1947 (US)
Running time
114 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $1.5 million[1]

So Well Remembered is a 1947 British film starring John Mills, Martha Scott, and Trevor Howard.[2] The film was based on the James Hilton novel of the same name and tells the story of a reformer and the woman he marries in a fictional Lancashire mill town. Hilton also narrated. The movie, shot on location in England, is faithful to the novel in many particulars, but the motivations of the main female character and the tone of the ending are considerably altered.

The first screening was in Macclesfield's Majestic Theatre on August 9, 1947, after which the film disappeared. It was only discovered some 60 years later by Macc Lad Muttley (Tristan O'Neill) of The Macc Lads infamy in Tennessee, United States.[3]


At the end of World War II in the Lancashire mill town of Browdley, town councillor, newspaper editor, and zealous reformer George Boswell (John Mills) recalls the past 26 years of his life. In 1919, he defends Olivia Channing (Martha Scott) when she applies for a library job. Her cotton mill owner father John Channing (Frederick Leister) had been sent to prison for almost 20 years for speculating with and losing many people's money.

George falls in love with Olivia, though it scandalises the townspeople, and eventually proposes to her. That night, she has an argument with her father. He has Dr. Richard Whiteside (Trevor Howard) drive him into town to speak to George, but they crash on a washed-out road and John is killed. Olivia then agrees to marry George.

Trevor Mangin (Reginald Tate), Browdley's most influential businessman, asks George to run for Parliament. Seeing an opportunity to further his reforming efforts, George agrees, much to Olivia's delight.

Whiteside brings George an alarming report about the danger of an epidemic in the town's filthy slums. Mangin, who owns many of them, produces a more optimistic one. Given that Whiteside has taken to drinking heavily since the accident, George accepts Mangin's report, causing the council to vote to do nothing. However, a diphtheria epidemic breaks out, just as Whiteside feared. A free clinic is opened to inoculate the healthy children and treat the sick. George tells Olivia to take their son there, but she cannot bear to do it, resulting in the child's death.

When George drops out of the election because of Mangin's lies, Olivia tells him that she is leaving him. George realises that she married him solely for his prospects. They go their separate ways. He eventually rises to mayor, while she remarries a rich man and has another son, Charles Winslow (Richard Carlson). Meanwhile, Whiteside takes in a baby girl, Julie Morgan (Patricia Roc), orphaned at birth. George helps raise her.

Many years pass. A widowed Olivia returns, takes up residence in her father's mansion, and reopens the Channing mill. Her son becomes a flier in the Royal Air Force in World War II. On leave, he meets Julie and they fall in love. However, Olivia does not want to relinquish her son. Charles is seriously injured in combat, his face disfigured. This enables Olivia to isolate and retain control of him, until George manages to convince him to break free and marry Julie. When Olivia arrives, looking for her son, George reveals that he has figured out that Olivia did nothing to prevent her father from driving to his death, though she must have known that the road was washed out. Whiteside had overheard the Channings' argument; knowing his daughter, John Channing intended to warn George against her.


Mills' daughters Juliet and Hayley played Julie as a young girl and a baby respectively.

The music for this film was composed by Hanns Eisler.


The film was mainly shot at Denham Film Studios in Denham, Buckinghamshire. Exteriors were filmed in Macclesfield, Cheshire, forming the backdrop of a Lancashire mill town.


According to trade papers, the film was a "notable box office attraction" at British cinemas in 1947.[4] Nevertheless, it recorded a loss of $378,000.[5]


  1. ^ Variety 20 February 1946 p 4
  2. ^ "So Well Remembered". NY Times. Retrieved 2011-05-05. 
  3. ^ Missing movie classic unearthed by Macc Lad - News - Macclesfield Express
  4. ^ Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 2003 p209
  5. ^ Richard B. Jewell, Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures, Uni of California, 2016

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