The White Unicorn

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The White Unicorn
The White Unicorn (1947 film).jpg
Original British trade advertisement
Directed by
Screenplay by Moie Charles
A. R. Rawlinson
Robert Westerby
Based onnovel The Milk-White Unicorn by Flora Sandström [1]
Produced by Harold Huth
Starring Margaret Lockwood
Joan Greenwood
Ian Hunter
Dennis Price
Cinematography Reginald H. Wyer
Edited by Robert Johnson
Music by Bretton Byrd
Distributed by General Film Distributors (UK)
Release dates
30 October 1947 (London)(UK)
June 1948 (US)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The White Unicorn is a 1947 British drama film directed by Bernard Knowles and starring Margaret Lockwood, Joan Greenwood, Ian Hunter and Dennis Price. [2] Kyra Vayne appeared as the singer. It was made at Walton Studios by the independent producer John Corfield, and released by General Film Distributors. The film's sets were designed by Norman G. Arnold. [2] It was also known as Milkwhite Unicorn and Bad Sister (its title in the US). [3]



At a home for delinquent girls, a troublesome girl (Joan Greenwood), swaps reminiscences with the warden (Margaret Lockwood), who recounts her own unhappy marriage, divorce and tragic death of her second husband. [4]



In December 1946 Phyllis Calvert was scheduled to play the lead. [5]

Filming began in March 1947. [6] The film was made at Nettleford Studios. [7] It was used to help build up Joan Greenwood who Rank were trying to make a star. [8]

Some scenes had to be re-cut for release in the US, notably when Margaret Lockwood and Dennis Prices's characters went on honeymoon together – their twin beds were too close together. [9] Lockwood's daughter had a small role. [10]


According to trade papers, the film was a "notable box office attraction" at British cinemas in 1947. [11]

AllMovie called it "A "woman's picture" if ever there was one"; [12] but Bosley Crowther in The New York Times was less sympathetic, calling it "...not an especially dramatic or otherwise appetizing serving of entertainment"; [13] whereas Variety wrote "...his romantic melodrama will have rough handling by the highbrows, but should prove a box office winner. Story is on hokey side, but a tearjerker." [14]

It is not among Lockwood's most highly regarded films. [15]

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  1. Goble, Alan (1 January 1999). The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN   9783110951943 via Google Books.
  2. 1 2 "The White Unicorn (1947)".
  3. Schallert, Edwin (9 March 1947). "British Film Star Irked by Censors: 'Silly,' Says Margaret Lockwood in Trans-Atlantic Phone Chat". Los Angeles Times. p. B1.
  4. "The White Unicorn". The Australian Women's Weekly . Vol. 16, no. 10. 14 August 1948. p. 26. Retrieved 28 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "British Film Briefs". Variety. 4 December 1946. p. 16.
  6. Tims, Hilton (1989). Once a wicked lady : a biography of Margaret Lockwood. W.H. Allen. p. 145.
  7. "Old-time players at studio party". The Australian Women's Weekly . Vol. 15, no. 7. 26 July 1947. p. 36. Retrieved 28 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "BRITISH FILMS". The Sun . No. 2326. Sydney. 9 November 1947. p. 17. Retrieved 28 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "Margaret Lockwood's fame brings problems". The Australian Women's Weekly . Vol. 15, no. 23. 15 November 1947. p. 32. Retrieved 28 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  10. Lockwood, Margaret (1955). Lucky Star: The Autobiography of Margaret Lockwood. Odhams Press Limited. p. 132.
  11. Robert Murphy (2003). Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939–48. p. 209. ISBN   9781134901500.
  12. "The White Unicorn (1947) - Bernard Knowles - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related". AllMovie.
  13. "Movie Reviews". The New York Times. 27 August 2021.
  14. "Variety (November 1947)". Variety. November 1947.
  15. Vagg, Stephen (29 January 2020). "Why Stars Stop Being Stars: Margaret Lockwood". Filmink.