The Guinea Pig (film)

The Guinea Pig is a 1948 British film directed and produced by the Boulting brothers, known as The Outsider in the United States. The film is adapted from the 1946 play of the same name by Warren Chetham-Strode.[2]

The Guinea Pig
Directed byRoy Boulting
Produced byJohn Boulting
Written byRoy Boulting
Warren Chetham-Strode (play)
Bernard Miles
StarringRichard Attenborough Tony Stubbs
Music byJohn Wooldridge
CinematographyGilbert Taylor
Edited byRichard Best
Distributed byPathé Pictures International (UK)
Release date
  • 27 October 1948 (1948-10-27)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£224,694 (UK)[1]


The "guinea pig" is 14-year-old Jack Read (played by 25-year-old Richard Attenborough), a tobacconist's son who, following the Fleming Report,[3] is given a scholarship to Saintbury, an exclusive public school.

Only after the changes wreaked by the Second World War, could such a scenario be imagined. Of course, Read's uncouth behaviour causes him difficulties in fitting into the school.


Production and reception

The film was from Pilgrim Pictures a new company set up by Filippo Del Guicide. It was financed by a "mystery industrialist".[4][5]

The school location used in the film was Sherborne, a public school in Dorset. The film was controversial at the time of its first release, as it contains the first screen use of the word "arse".[6]

The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther, at the time of the film's first American release, was unimpressed. According to Crowther, "the details are highly parochial, the attitudes of the characters are strangely stiff, the accents and idioms are hard to fathom—and the exposition is involved and tedious".[7] British trade papers called the film a "notable box office attraction" in British cinemas in 1949.[8] A reviewer for Time Out has called it, "solid entertainment, even if barely convincing".[9]


  1. Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p. 487
  2. "The Guinea Pig | BFI | BFI". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  3. Public school (United Kingdom)
  4. "Millionaire To Back Pictures". The Evening Advocate. Queensland, Australia. 29 January 1948. p. 2. Retrieved 13 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "Mystery millionaire backs movie company". The Sun (11, 847). Sydney. 15 January 1948. p. 19. Retrieved 13 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "The Guinea Pig (1948) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  7. Crowther, Bosley (2 May 1949). "Movie Review – The Guinea Pig – THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; 'The Guinea Pig,' English Film About Public School System, Opens at Little Carnegie". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  8. Murphy, Robert (2005) [1992]. Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48. London & New York: Routledge. p. 211.
  9. "The Guinea Pig". Time Out. London. Retrieved 12 March 2014.

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