|Index||5 reviews in total|
Quite a funny film at times, though maybe it's just so silly that it
funny. The first bit that will have you laughing is when Fortescue, who has
a nose like Arthur Treacher, but isn't *actually* Arthur Treacher, escapes
from the men chasing him by climbing over a wall, and landing in a
Professor's garden party type of thing. The bonus? He's dressed like a
professor himself, so the other men have an interesting time trying to find
him. Fortescue manages to bluff that he's a Professor from an Australian
university, and what do you know - ends up with a job as a teacher. The
run him through the mill as good as they would any new teacher, until
finally the board of education cottons on that none of them seem to be
learning anything, and tells them they have to sit for some exams and pass
with flying colours, or the school may be closed down. Some quick
and cheating - ends up winning the young scholars a trip to France, and
is where the fun really begins, as one of the boy's brother has recently
escaped from jail and wants to steal a necklace which just happens to be in
the Paris museum...
It may sound stupid, but trust me, it's funny. And young Anthony Newley is a treat to watch as a cheeky school boy!
If memory serves me correctly this is a remake of the 1937 Will Hay comedy
"Good Morning Boys", to which it compares quite favourably. Coming a year
before the cycle of St Trinians films began, it, and by default the Will
schoolmaster comedies of the thirties from which it derives, can be viewed
as serving as a kind of prototype for that series. In any event it seems
me that the St Trinians films have far more in common with this little
picture than they do with the far more sophisticated humour of "The
Days of Your Life"(1950) with which they are usually linked.
Although for the most part he is generally forgotten today, I always found Ronald Shiner quite a likable comedy actor, and to be frank, I probably prefer him in this role to Will Hay, who in his guise as schoolmaster could become a little irritating at times. Interestingly I also find him a little reminiscent of Shemp Howard in places. I find it frustrating that I have been able to view so few of the films listed in his filmography.
Other familiar faces notable in the cast are a young Anthony Newley and a young Ronnie Corbett, Mary Jerrold as Mrs Bagshot brings Katie Johnson to mind......and there's also Richard Wattis as ...you guessed it.. a Ministry of Education official.
I watched the movie late the other night and it tugged the nostalgia strings. Yes Anthony Newley was a joy to watch as was a very very young Ronnie Corbett. Harry Fowler (later in the Army Game on TV) had a big part. Cant help but think he looks a lot like Robbie Fowler the footballer. Is that just a coincidence? Can anyone help? And what about sad old Alfie Bass also to star in the Army Game in 1960/61. What a face. I think they did a spin off later called Bootsie and Snudge (with Ronnie Fraser also from the Army Game.) Sadly it is all going to be forgotten. Its a fine example of English comedy before the influence of Monty Python when life was still so innocent and the Goons and Around The Horne were still on the Radio and Tony Hancock was making everyone laugh. Regards, Frank.
I was actually an extra in this film, as a schoolboy earning some holiday money. Even to me the scenes I was involved in seemed very contrived, and less funny than I would have hoped, following retakes. For instance Ronald Shiner had problems saying "Dickory Dock", rhyming slang for clock, and that scene was shot 21 times before Carstairs was satisfied. It was the first time I had seen Ronnie Corbett, and it is amazing how his stellar career has taken off since those early days. I filled in the school holidays with a lot of film extra work, and in my memory, this seemed the most laboured production, and reviewing the film after more than fifty years, this comes through on scree.
This extremely noisy and thoroughly predictable farce's limited quota
of genuine humor is further undermined by director Paddy Carstairs. Not
only does Carstairs handle the action in his usual ill-timed,
ham-fisted manner, but he has seen fit to indulge his egotistical star
with numerous close-ups. The film often resembles a television
"comedy", an impression re-enforced by the script's seemingly endless
parade of tediously-paced, elemental slapstick.
Fortunately, the obvious enthusiasm of the players (including Mr Shiner) does manage to overcome some of the inertia produced by both script and direction, although disappointingly, the lovely French star, Jacqueline Pierreux, has only a very small part.
Production values rate as modest and behind-the-camera credits rise no higher than steadfastly routine.
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