The Jessie Matthews HomePage

Film Career

The Beloved Vagabond



Director: Fred Leroy Granville
Format: Silent Black and White
Production: Astra National
Length: 90 Minutes
Premiered: Palace Theatre, London, 22 October 1923

Based on the novel "Romance" by W J Locke. About a jilted heiress posing as a tramp who falls in love with an orphan. Jessie was unbilled in a dancing sequence as "Pan".




Straws in the Wind



Director: Bertram Phillips
Format: Silent Black and White
Production: Gaumont
Length: 6 Reeler
Premiered: March 1924


Based on "Drama" by Burton George. Soap of the day with Jessie uncredited as a village girl.


This England



Director: Walter Summers
Format:Silent Black and White
Production:Napoleon Films
Length: 2 reeler
Premiered: November 1923

Royal History with Jessie(uncredited) as Edward, Prince of Wales.


Out Of The Blue



Director: John Orton/Gene Gerrard
Format:Black and White
Production:British International (at Elstree)
Length:88 Minutes
Premiered:November 1931



"Musical" version of "Little Tommy Tucker" - Poor aristocratic daughter (Jessie) falls for sister's radio star fiance, Bill Coverdale (Gene Gerrard).


There Goes The Bride



Director:John Orton/Gene Gerrard
Format:Black and White
Production:Gainsborough-British Lion
Length:79 Minutes
Premiered:26 October 1932 at the New Gallery, London




A Comedy by Herman Kosterlitz / Wolfgang Wilhelm starring Jessie as Annette Marquand, running away from her impending marriage, and mistaken as a thief. With Owen Nares. Jessie Sings "I'll Stay With You" and "You Are The One For Me".


The Man From Toronto



Director: Sinclair Hill
Format:Black and White
Production:Gainsborough
Length:77 Minutes
Premiered:19 January 1933 , London




Zaney Douglas Murray comedy starring Jessie as an heiress put to task as a maid with Ian Hunter.


The Midshipmaid



Director: Albert de Corville
Format:Black and White
Production:Gaumont
Length: 82 Minutes
Premiered: 8 December 1932 London



Ian Hay Comedy at sea. Starring Jessie as Naval economic committee chairman's daughter on a fleeting visit to Malta.Jessie sings "One Little Kiss From You"


The Good Companions



Director:Victor Saville
Format:Black and White
Production:Gaumont (Gainsborough Studios)
Length:113 Minutes
Premiered:28 February 1933 London




Musical version of J B Preistley's play starring Jessie as Susie Dean, a rising star on a concert party tour with Sir John Gielgeud, Edmund Gwenn, Mary Glynne, and Jack Hawkins. Jessie sings "Three Wishes" and "Let Me Give My Happiness To You".


Friday The Thirteenth



Director:Victor Saville
Format:Black and White
Production:Gainsborough/Gaumont/British
Lenght:84 Minutes
Premiered:The Tivoli, London , 15 November 1933




Drama based on a story by G H Moresby-White and Sidney Gilliat; collision course for passengers of a night bus. Staring Jessie as Millie - a career in the chorus threatens engagement to fiance. With Sir Ralph Richardson, Sonnie Hale, Max Miller, Ursula Jeans and Martita Hunt.


Waltzes from Vienna



Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Format:Black and White
Production:Tom Arnold/Gainsborough-British
Lenght:81 Minutes
Premiered:Marble Arch Pavillion, London, 5 March 1934




"Musical" based on "Walzerkrieg" by Ernest Marischka and D A Wilmer. Pastry cook's daughter, Resi (Jessie), helps Yohan Strauss Junior to fame. With Esmond Knight and Fay Compton.


Evergreen



Director:Victor Saville
Format:Black and White
Production:Gaumont British
Length:90 Minutes
Premiered: New Gallery, London 7th June 1934




Among the best of musicals, based on the play by Benn W Levy. Songbird Harriet Green (Jessie) assumes the identity and enacts a stage return of her famous dead mother. With Sonnie Hale and Betty Balfour. Jessie sings "When You've Got A Little Springtime In Your Heart", "Dancing On The Ceiling" "Tinkle, Tinkle, Tinkle" and "Over My Shoulder".



First A Girl



Director:Victor Saville
Format:Black and White
Production:Gaumont British
Length:94 Minutes
Premiered:New Gallery, London 6 November 1935




Based on the play "Viktor Und Viktoria" by Reinhold Schunzel. Superior Musical Remake. Fashion house shop packer, Elizabeth (Jessie), makes the big time when she steps in for a female impersonator. A Mega song and dance spectacular. Jessie's songs include "Say the Word and It's Yours", "I Can Wiggle My Ears", "Everything's in Rhythm With My Heart, and "Little Silk Worm".


It's Love Again



Director:Victor Saville
Format:Black and White
Production:Gaumont British
Length:83 Minutes
Premiered:Roxy, New York 22nd May 1936




Musical based on a story by Marion Dix about a chorus girl, Elaine (Jessie), who invents and becomes an exotic mysterious socialite, to help her friend's news column. Exotic extravagent production numbers Hollywood would find difficult to match. With Robert Young, Sonnie Hale. Jessie's songs include, "I Nearly Let Love Go Slipping Through My Fingers", "Gotta Dance My Way To Heaven", "It's Love Again", and "Tony's in Town".


Head Over Heels



Director:Sonnie Hale
Format:Black and White
Production: Gaumont British
Length: 81 Minutes
Premiered:Gaumont Haymarket, London, 27 February 1937



Romantic musical based on "Pierre ou Jac" by Francois de Crosset. Love triangle between cabaret singer Jeanne (Jessie), playboy Marcel (Louis Borell) and engenue Pierre (Robert Flemyng). Jessie's songs include "Head Over Heels In Love", "There's That Look in Your Eyes Again", "Looking Around Corners For You", and "May I Have This next Romance With You".


Gangway



Director: Sonnie Hale
Format:Black and White
Production: Gaumont British
Length:89 Minutes
Premiered: Gaumont Haymarket, 1 October 1937




Musical Comedy based on a story by Dwight Taylor.Journalist Pat Wayne (Jessie) takes undercover employment as a maid to Socialite, becomes embroiled in search for Jewel thief. Leads to a shoot out with gangsters across the Atlantic, and Jessie finds love in the dashing detective. Jessie's songs include, "When You Gotta Sing", "Lord and Lady Whozies", "Moon or No Moon" and "Gangway".


Sailing Along



Director: Sonnie Hale
Format: Black and White
Production: Gaumont-British-General
Length:90 Minutes
Premiered:Gaumont Haymarket, London 17 April 1938



Musical romance based on a story by Selwyn Jepson. Kay Martin (Jessie) gives up stardom for the love of a bargee's son. Jessie's songs include "Trusting My Luck", "Your Heart Skips A Beat", "Souvenir of Love" and "My River".






Climbing High



Director: Carol Reed
Format: Black and White
Production:Gaumont - British
Lenght:78 Minutes
Premiered:Empire Leicester Square, London, 24 February 1939



Comedy based on a story by Lesser Samuels / Marion Dix. Dicky Brooke (Michael Redgrave) aims to win the affection of model Diana Castle (Jessie). With Alastair Sim, Noel Madison, Mary Clare and Basil Radford.


Forever and a Day



Director:Victor Saville (for Jessies scene) Format:Black and White Production:R.K.O, Hollywood Lenght:105 Minutes Premiered: Leicester Square Theatre, London, 17 June 1943




A collection of stories about the occupants of a London House from 1804 to the blitz in 1941. Jessie plays Mildred Temple, back from India to buy a portrait of an ancestor. With Anna Neagle, Gladys Cooper, Merle Oberon, Ray Milland, Dame May Whitty, Claude Rains, Elsa Lanchester, C Aubery Smith, Ida Lupino, Robert Cummings and Herbert Marshall. Proceeds of the film went to the British and American Red Cross.


Candles at Nine



Director:John Harlow
Format:Black and White
Production: British National (Elstree)
Length:83 Minutes Premiered: 24 March 1944


Thriller based on "The Mouse Who Wouldn't Play Ball" by Anthony Gilbert about heiress Dorothea Capper (Jessie) bound to live in an old house in danger of being murdered by the keeper. With Julia Carberry and Patricia Hayes.


Victory Wedding



Director:Jessie Matthews! Format:Black and White Production:Gainsborough Lenth:20 Minutes Premiered:24 March 1944

Jessie directed but did not appear in this short about a soldier returning from the front line to find his fiance with another man. With Sir John Mills, and Dulcie Gray.


Life Is Nothing Without Music



Director:Horace Shepherd
Format:Black and White
Production:Inspiration (Viking studios)
Length:34 Minutes
Premiered: 8 May 1947

Musical travelogue about Brixham Devon - with Jessie top billed as herself.



Making The Grade



Director:Horace Shepherd
Format:Black and White
Production:Inspiration
Length:33 Minutes
Premiered:25 August 1947

Musical document of the rise to fame of actors to stardom. Jessie top billed as herself.


Tom Thumb



Director:George Pal
Format:Colour
Production:Galaxy Pictures / MGM (Boreham Wood, Elstree Studios)
Length:92 Minutes
Premiered: Empire Leicester Square, London 4 December 1958



Musical based on the fairy story by the Brothers Grimm, about a childless couple (Jessie as the woodcutters wife Anna) who are blessed by a fairy with a son no bigger than the size of the woodcutter's thumb.




A Hundred Years Underground



Director: No Information
Format:Black & White
Production:International Historic Films Inc (Current Video Company - No information about original)
Length:40 Minutes
Premiered:1963

The Story of the London Underground from 1863 to 1963. Jessie recalls glittering nights at the Theatre, and her experience of the blitz. Also contains childhood reminiscenses by John Betchjemin and recollections by Henry Moore of Sheltering in the tube during the War.


Hound Of The Baskervilles



Director: Paul Morrisey
Format: colour
Production:British
Length: 84 Minutes
Premiered: 1977


Parody of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story with all star British cast.







The Never Never Land



Director:Terry Ohlsson
Format:Colour
Production: Australian / British
Length:Short
Premiered:1980

Jessie's last cinema performance.






The Small Screen



Apart from her amazing film career, Jessie made many television appearances including :
the talk shows "Parkinson", "Pebble Mill", and "Looks Familiar", the tribute shows "This Is Your Life" and the "BAFTA Awards" , the Drama series "Angels" in which she sang "You'll Never Know"; and a nostalgic guest spot on Larry Grayson's Generation Game, much to his surprise, where she & Larry teamed up to sing "Over My Shoulder".
Jessie's most notable television performances include the plays, "The Winter Ladies" staring as Lady Bluett,and "The Apple Cart" as Postmistress General. She had key character roles in TV Series, "Edward & Mrs Simpson" playing the sparkling Aunt Bessie, and in the Canadian TV series "Pig & Whistle". She starred in one of Ronald Dahl's best "Tales Of The Unexpected" as a canny dealer of Art.
The best personal appearances on TV include "The Good Old Days" performing a 'mini - concert' of her hits and "The Night of 100 Stars" singing "When You've Got A Little Springtime In Your Heart" which was also sadly her last stage appearance.

Futher details of her television work can be found on the BFI Film & TV Database. As with allot of information sources there may be some errors and ommissions.
Biographical documentaries since her death, include a tribute in the 40 Minutes series "To Catch A Fallen Star". This featured Jessie in rare home movie footage, clips from her films, TV, Radio and concerts, and interviews with her Brother, Step daughter, Sir Dirk Bogarde, and friends and neighbours .


I hope in future to be able to catalogue Jessies Television work completely and provide a seperate page with full details.


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