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Showing posts from September, 2020

The Belles of St. Trinian's (1954)

The anarchic schoolgirls and disreputable teachers of Ronald Searle's St. Trinian's cartoons were first brought to the screen in a series of comedies in the 1950s and 1960s. The first film, The Belles of St. Trinian's, was released in 1954 and starred Alastair Sim in a dual role as the school's headmistress, Miss Fritton, and her shady bookmaker brother Clarence.

St. Trinian's School for Young Ladies is an English boarding school in a traditional country house setting, with uniforms, a motto, hockey matches and a semblance of lessons. But the teachers are a mixture of criminals and seedy low lives with barely a qualification between them. The pupils have an alarming tendency for violence and are allowed to run amuck, creating chaos wherever they go and involving themselves in assorted mischief and illicit activities. The school's official motto is In Flagrante Delicto, meaning "caught in the act".

As the headmistress Miss Fritton explains to the new g…

Two Cheers for St. Trinian's!

The St. Trinian's films were an unexpectedly long-running British comedy series, instigated by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat in the 1950s. They took as their inspiration the cartoons of Ronald Searle, showing schoolgirls behaving badly at an English boarding school. In the films that meant beating up their rivals on the sports field, brewing illicit booze and causing a crimewave wherever they went.Between them, Launder and Gilliat managed to make five St. Trinian's films from 1954 to 1980. Yes, there really were five. Not four or three, as some might claim. Or like to think.As a result, St. Trinian's became one of British cinema's big three comedy series, together with the Doctor films (running from 1954 to 1970) and the Carry On films (from 1958 to 1992). The St. Trinian's brand was even strong enough to see it revived for another two films in the 2000s.