HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Menace II Society
Azor
Night Raiders
Samourai, Le
Advent Calendar, The
Champion
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
   
 
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
   
 
  Belles of St. Trinian's, The School For Scandal
Year: 1954
Director: Frank Launder
Stars: Alastair Sim, Joyce Grenfell, George Cole, Hermione Baddeley, Betty Ann Davies, Renee Houston, Beryl Reid, Irene Handl, Mary Merrall, Joan Sims, Balbina, Diana Day, Jill Braidwood, Annabelle Covey, Richard Wattis, Michael Ripper, Sid James, Roger Delgado
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Be afraid... be very afraid because the girls of St. Trinian's private school have returned for the new term, and they are notorious for being the most badly behaved in the whole country. The headmistress Miss Fritton (Alastair Sim) is none too bothered, because she has long learned to tolerate and indulge her charges in their mischief, and besides what is really concerning her now is the lack of funds the establishment is suffering. When a wealthy sheik sends his daughter to the school, however, things are looking up - until Fritton's brother Clarence (Sim again) gets wind of it.

The first of the St. Trinian's movies was a sensation on its release, and for Sim, whose popularity with the public new no bounds, it was a career high as he played not one but two dodgy characters, and one of those in drag as a most unlikely woman, which was part of the joke, naturally. It was also a highlight for the production team of Frank Launder (who also directed) and Sidney Gilliat, who had been alerted to the following Ronald Searle's naughty schoolgirl cartoons had among the young by their own offspring, and thought it would make a good premise for a film; in fact it became a whole lucrative franchise for them.

The premise of Searle's drawings was that anarchy and chaos were preferable to order and decorum, something that appealed to fifties kids who wished to be able to rebel against an education system far stricter then than it is now - there's no hint the pupils here would ever get the cane for their antics, for instance. Yet oddly when Launder and Gilliat translated those cartoons to screen form they opted not to make this a movie centered upon the kids, and instead gave the lion's share of the time to the teachers, leaving the girls a rather anonymous band of troublemakers, though once the plot involving a racehorse got going some of them won a decent amount of lines.

But really it was Sim who most would recall, and it's his comic talents which have made this endure in Britain as a longstanding favourite of irreverent humour, the sort of thing the nation's funnymen and women did so well. With a pleasing hint of off-colour japery ("I cannot afford to have continual arson about in my school!" quoth Miss Fritton - say it out loud), the results were a neat mix of broad gags such as the hockey match which descends into predictable violence, and more witty, character-based material at which this cast were only too capable. They included Sim's onetime protégé George Cole as Flash Harry, the role which surely put him in mind for Arthur Daley later on in TV hit Minder.

In addition, Joyce Grenfell appeared as the undercover policewoman, reuniting with Sim after their previous, not dissimilar success in The Happiest Days of Your Life, here in the film most would remember her for, and the teachers included such valuable character actresses as Beryl Reid (with a monocle), Irene Handl (teaching English with broad Cockney tones) and Joan Sims (very glamorous for a change). Even the pupils had a few recognisable faces amongst them such as Barbara Windsor or Shirley Eaton, and if you were very sharp you'd spot Searle himself as a parent. If this wasn't quite as consistently hilarious as its reputation, the overall sense of a bunch of professionals depicting a shower of non-professionals was very welcome, and there were many amusing lines which hit their targets, not to mention the clever sight gags (the school motto was "In Flagrante Delicto"!), so if it had a ramshackle air then that was by canny design. It's so cheerily badly behaved you can understand why so many took it to their hearts. Music, including the plinky-plonky theme, by Malcolm Arnold.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3028 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: