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In the days before political correctness reared its ugly head, boys were boys and girls and girls, and ne'er the twain should meet - except for St. Trinian's where small girls were boys, at least in their behaviour, and large girls were rather pretty, in Sabrina's case voluptuous. The main characters were all well drawn with a splendid supporting cast and all very British. Alastair Sim was perfect as the headmistress, George Cole was the Cockney geezer, Joyce Grenfell the ever spurned policewoman while Eric Barker as Culpepper Brown and Richard Wattis as Bassett were truly superb archetypal education ministers. As for Terry-Thomas - well? Even a coach driver could be posh in those days! Stiff upper lip what, even with St. Trinian's on board. All good clean fun which had family audiences flocking to the local cinema. What a pity they don't show films like this any more on television because they beat the modern rubbish hollow for entertainment value.
Not the strongest film in the St Trinians' series, but nevertheless
enjoyable for fans of mid-50s British comedy. It tends to slapstick at
times, particularly the scene where the policemen are looking for the
diamond thief a straight lift from `The Pirate of Penzance'.
The caste is the cream of British comedy at the time. Two mentions: a young George Cole, who went on to make a career of playing Cockney spivs, and Joyce Grenfell as Sgt Ruby Gates. The latter is a standout performance. Joyce Grenfell must surely be on of the finest female comedians of all time and the film is worth watching for her performance alone.
With Miss Fritton locked away in the school basement, and the army laying
siege to the school grounds (with a great deal of resistance), Flash Harry
is abroad promoting the `St Trinians Marriage Bureau' to a wealthy Italian
Prince. However he has to visit the Prince with the girls. He manages to
cheat in a competition that allows the school to tour to Rome and they're on
their way. However one of the girl's Dads is a diamond thief who tries to
escape capture by dressing as their headmistress and smuggling himself out
of the country, bringing the attention of the law to bear on the already
Not one of the best of the series of movies, but still this stands up as a good British caper movie, with a strong cast of British comedians on board. The plot is thin at best and relies on the fact that no-one can tell the difference between sexes after a little bit of cross dressing ..well, I suppose Shakespeare did it all the time and it worked for him! Much of the comedy draws from slapstick or seeing girls fight, but there are some good lines and characters Michael Ripper's working class liftman is my favourite.
George Cole plays Harry well in fact he was born playing cockney rogues (eg Cottage to Let), kept playing them (St Trinians ) and got old playing them (Minder on TV). The wonderfully British Joyce Grenfell is good again as Gates, while the support cast is rich in talent Terry Thomas, Lionel Jefferies, Terry Scott and Alistair Sim. The girls are a little iffy , the young ones are clearly children and play rough little warriors, however the older girls (i.e. 16-18) are played by women of early/mid twenties. They're all dressed up in uniforms with stockings and suspenders showing and using their sexuality for all they can get not more so than the great Sabrina. However in today's climate where any hint of teenage sexuality or pedophilia sparks a media frenzy, this sits a little uncomfortably there's certainly no way this could get made today!
Overall it's enjoyable if basic there are better movies, but it's worth watching once.
By sheer accident I recently saw the worst of this generally
well-regarded British series (the 1980 "Wildcats of St. Trinian's"), so
I thought to be fair I'd check out the best. Well, this is A LOT
better. This is a genuinely hilarious film, not just in the jokes but
in the absurd situations. It starts with the notorious title girls'
school under military occupation, resulting in heavy casualties (for
the military). The older "sixth form" girls decide they want to travel
to Rome to meet a wealthy Italian count so they work with the younger
"fourth form" hellions to break into the Ministry of Education and rig
the results of a UNESCO exam. But when no respectable tour bus company
will take this collection of monsters and minxes to the continent, they
hire a shady operator (famed British comedian Terry-Thomas). Their
"chaperone" meanwhile is the fugitive diamond-thief father of one of
the girl's who is disguised as the new headmistress (they "disappear"
the real headmistress), which turns the whole thing into a hilarious
comedy caper film.
It is a little disconcerting, as other reviewers have noted, that this film mixes the family-friendly scenes of the "fourth-form" ragamuffins with the scenes of the sexualized and sexually-predatory "sixth formers". But let's be honest--the first females most men sexually experienced or fantasized about were probably 16-18 years old, and those who claim to have no lingering attraction to girls that age are either lying or senile. Moreover, the "sixth formers" here are obviously played by somewhat older actresses, who are naturally pretty sexy. The most recognizable actress, for instance, is Italian sex bomb Lisa Gastoni. Now if you're sexually attracted to the "fourth formers", I'd say you have problems, but otherwise. . .
But I digress. These British comedies would get a lot more racy moving into the 70's, but they were rarely as funny as this one. This ranks with the best of the "Carry on" series (i.e. "Carry on Camping", "Carry on Spying") and should be a must-see for any British comedy fan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film seems to be a sequel to "The Belles of St. Trinian's." Most
of the characters repeat, except that Alastair Sim has barely a cameo
appearance. In his place, Terry-Thomas becomes the lead character. He
is Captain Romney Carlton-Ricketts, whose dilapidated tour service is
selected to take the St. Trianian's girls on a tour of Europe.
Besides Thomas, the bulk of the humor comes from George Cole who reprises his role as Flash Harry; and Joyce Grenfall who is, again, an undercover cop. She is police sergeant Ruby Gates. Lionel Jeffries has a nice part in this film as Joe Mangan.
The girls break into the ministry of education, falsify their test results and win a contest to represent England at a gathering in Rome. So, the school goes on a semi-ambassador goodwill tour of many Western European countries.
The script and plot are just OK and the humor is so-so. Those who like Terry-Thomas and these other performers will likely enjoy this film. But others may not. The film has nothing special to recommend it.
This is the second installment in the St. Trinians set of films and it deals with the girls wanting to win a contest to go to Europe, specifically Rome, to meet a handsome bachelor prince. They creatively find a way to win the contest and they are on their way. The reason this film is not as immediate as the first is because it takes a while for them to finally make the trip. There is a story attached concerning stolen jewels also, which is germane to all this, but I didn't think it was all that interesting. However, there is better acting in this film. Terry Thomas is good and Joyce Grenfell returns as the sargeant, once again going undercover. So, not as good as "The Belles", but you'll want to see it because you want to see the films in the series.
'The Belles of St Trinian's' was a hard act to follow, so it isn't
surprising that this film doesn't even try. Apart from brief top and
tail appearances of Alistair Sim as Miss Fritton, it is left to
character actor Lionel Jeffries to take the mantle and lead the girls
into glory, i.e. into George Cole's marriage bureau seeking to find a
mate for a foreign prince in Rome.
Familiar faces are back - Joyce Grenfell, Richard Wattis - alongside Terry-Thomas, Terry Scott, Kenneth Griffith, and other big names of the 1950s comedy scene. The girls are as riotous as ever, and there is a nice turn from Judith Furze as Dame Maud, the unfortunate replacement head of the worst girls' school in the world! 'Blue Murder at St Trinian's' flags at times, but some bits are extremely funny, and one can sympathise with the Ministry of Education and their need for calming pills!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's not as funny as the first film but it's still hilarious. The
virtual absence of Alastair Sim - who appears in two scenes and has
five lines - is certainly a blow to the film but it has a great cast
including George Cole (who has a much bigger role than in the first
film), Terry-Thomas (who, despite being billed first, does not appear
until halfway through the film), Lionel Jeffries, Joyce Grenfell,
Michael Ripper, Thorley Walters and Richard Wattis. Sadly, however,
this was Sim's last involvement with the "St. Trinian's" films.
In spite of Sim's limited screen time, the joke of a man in drag is continued as Jeffries' character Joe Mangan - who shares his name with my mother's first cousin, who is not a diamond thief, thankfully - disguises himself as the new headmistress Dame Maud Hackshaw. While this is obviously an old joke, it is done very well. However, it does not work as well as Sim playing Miss Fritton as I found the idea of a male actor playing a female character much more fun than a male character pretending to be a woman.
I imagine that the storyline, which concerns Flash Harry trying to marry off one of the sixth formers to a European prince, was meant as a parody of the marriage of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco the previous year, particularly since one of his other potential brides is a Hollywood actress. The first film focused primarily on the fourth formers' pranks, violence, gambling and general mayhem while this one focuses on the sexual promiscuity of the sixth formers. I have to say that I found the former funnier as schoolgirls blowing up labs with nitroglycerin and attempting to decapitate people is far more unusual! Though the latter was quite daring for a family comedy film in 1957.
BLUE MURDER AT ST. TRINIAN's is the 1957 sequel to THE BELLES OF ST.
TRINIAN'S and a definite improvement on the first stodgy movie.
Alastair Sim is missing (for the most part), but his absence is more
than made up for with a whole host of British comedy stars making this
something of an ensemble affair. It's also a globetrotting adventures,
taking the unruly pupils out of their school to wreak havoc on the
BLUE MURDER boasts a decent pace, plenty of workable gags and some inspired direction from Frank Launder, who seems to have had a shot of adrenaline pumped into his arm since he helmed the first flick. There are some great set-pieces here, including the water volleyball match and the robbery, all strung together by a preposterous but amusing narrative.
While the likes of George Cole happily return to the fold, the real fun comes from the new stars present: a typical turn for Terry-Thomas and an inspired bit of cross-dressing from Lionel Jeffries, no less. Plenty of familiar faces appear in little roles too, including Terry Scott and Michael Ripper, and as a whole the production has the same lightness of touch and tone as the CARRY ONs of the era.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This, the second film in the series, opens with Flash Harry in Rome; he
is running the 'St. Trinian's Marriage Bureau' and trying to set a
wealthy Italian prince up with one of the school's sixth form; the
problem is he can't decide which he likes most so tells Harry to bring
them all to Rome. This may present a problem as nobody in their right
mind would allow the girls of St. Trinian's to travel abroad! Back in
England the school is waiting for the new headmistress to arrive from
Australia; in the meantime the school is being run by the army
inevitably it is the army that are taking casualties! After some
thinking they come up with a plan; they arrange to 'win' a UNESCO
school's competition which has a trip round Europe as its prize. Of
course things get complicated further; in this case by a diamond robber
who tries to take shelter from the police in the school. He ends up
going on the trip in a very unlikely role; along with a policewoman who
is masquerading as the interpreter.
After the opening 'Belles of St. Trinian's' this was a little bit disappointing but still had a decent number of laughs. The main weakness is that for the most part the story focuses on the adults and their schemes rather than the children; and when it does focus on the children it mainly focuses on the clearly twenty something sixth-formers rather than the feral forth formers who are far funnier thanks to their anarchic behaviour. The cast do a solid job and there are a good range of jokes meaning that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages it is just a shame that we didn't get to see the La Crosse match just its aftermath, nor do we see what they are shooting out with a stolen Bren gun! If you enjoyed the first St. Trinian's film I'd certainly recommend watching this one too.
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