Caravan (1946 film)

Caravan is a 1946 British black-and-white drama film directed by Arthur Crabtree. It was one of the Gainsborough melodramas and is based on a novel Caravan by Eleanor Smith.

Detail from Italian poster
Directed byArthur Crabtree
Produced byHarold Huth
Written byRoland Pertwee (writer)
Eleanor Smith
(original novel)
StarringStewart Granger
Jean Kent
Anne Crawford
Dennis Price
Robert Helpmann
Gerard Heinz
Music byBretton Byrd (uncredited)
CinematographyStephen Dade
Cyril J. Knowles (location photography)
Edited byCharles Knott
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
3 June 1946
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office649,800 admissions (France)[1]


In late 19th-century London, destitute Richard Darrell (Stewart Granger) rescues Don Carlos (Gerard Heinz) from two robbers. When Richard returns for the manuscript he inadvertently left behind, he is encouraged by Don Carlos to talk about his background. The son of a poor country doctor, he met the upper class Oriana Camperdene and Francis Castleton during their childhood; he and Francis became rivals for Oriana's affections. Oriana and her father left for Spain, but the couple were reunited as adults and agreed to marry, much to Francis's disgust. However, they postponed the wedding for a year so that Richard could go to London and make his fortune as a writer. However, though he has completed a novel, no one wants to publish it and his year is almost up. Don Carlos offers to publish it and asks him to take a valuable necklace, which once belonged to Queen Isabella of Castile, to Granada.

Bidding farewell to Oriana (Anne Crawford), Richard sets out. On the way, he meets Wycroft (Robert Helpmann), who assaults, robs and nearly kills Richard on behalf of his dastardly master, Sir Francis Castleton (Dennis Price). Oriana thinks Richard is dead and, with her father recently dead, marries Francis, whilst Richard loses his memory as a result of the assault and marries a gypsy girl named Rosal (Jean Kent). However, everyone meets again...



The film was meant to follow The Magic Bow, but that was postponed due to the illness of Phyllis Calvert so, Caravan had to be rushed into production.[2]

Location filming took place in North Wales.[3]

Jean Kent met her future husband during the making of the movie.[4]


The film was one of the most popular British releases of 1946.[5] According to trade papers, the film was a "notable box office attraction" at British cinemas.[6][7]

Another source says it was the most successful film at the British box office in 1946 after The Wicked Lady, The Bells of St Marys, Piccadilly Incident, The Captive Heart and The Road to Utopia.[8]

Stewart Granger later called the movie "terrible".[9]

Critical reception

The New York Times wrote, "Granger and the rest of the cast alternate between grappling with stilted lines and an embarrassingly archaic situation with neither the players nor plot making much entertainment, while 'Caravan' moves with the speed of an oxcart."[10] TV Guide noted "strong direction, brilliant individual performances, and production values far above the usual run of British films work beautifully together as one melodramatic situation is piled on another." [11]


  1. Box office information for Stewart Granger films in France at Box Office Story
  2. C.A. LEJEUNE (24 June 1945). "BUSY BRITONS: Two Down and One to Go". New York Times. p. 27.
  3. "Menuhin music in British film". The Sun (2201). Sydney. 17 June 1945. p. 3 (SUPPLEMENT TO THE SUNDAY SUN WEEK END MAGAZINE). Retrieved 27 October 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  4. "FILM CABLE FROM LONDON:". The Sunday Times. Perth. 17 March 1946. p. 13 Supplement: The Sunday Times MAGAZINE. Retrieved 2 February 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "Britain's Best Films". The Sunday Times. Perth. 16 February 1947. p. 12 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE SUNDAY TIMES. Retrieved 2 February 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  6. Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 2003 p209
  7. Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32 no. 3. p. 258.
  8. "Hollywood Sneaks In 15 Films on '25 Best' List of Arty Britain". The Washington Post. 15 January 1947. p. 2.
  9. Brian MacFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Methuen 1997 p 230
  10. A.. W. (21 April 1949). "Movie Review – Caravan – Meredith Documentary, 'A Yank Comes Back,' at Symphony – 'Caravan' at Beacon". Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  11. "Caravan Review". 28 November 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
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