Skip to main content

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.


In this fortieth anniversary year of the final Launder and Gilliat film, 1980's The Wildcats of St. Trinian's, I will be taking a look at all five of the films in the original series.

In Two Cheers for St. Trinians! I will bring you classic, semi-classic and not-so-classic British comedy, featuring schoolgirl mayhem, stolen racehorses, men in drag and some surprisingly convoluted plotting. There will be a host of British comedy stars, including Terry-Thomas, Joyce Grenfell, Sid James, George Cole, Frankie Howerd, Dora Bryan, Dennis Price and two Alastair Sims.

Yes, it's the blog series that no one asked for and no one really wants, but you're going to get it anyway. Being a traditionalist at heart, I've decided to start with the first film in the series, The Belles of St. Trinian's in a few days time, and work through the rest in chronological order. 

As I mentioned, this series is called Two Cheers for St. Trinian's! Why only two cheers? Well, the early films get three cheers but the later ones can barely muster one, so it balances out in the end.

This series might be slightly intermittent, with the occasional break for something different. But surely no one's in that much of a hurry to get to The Wildcats of St. Trinian's anyway, are they?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Alien (1979)

In its genre, Alien has rarely, if ever, been bettered. It's a very simple story of a terrifying monster let loose in a confined space, killing off the crew of a space ship one by one. Its greatness lies in its superb handling and in its extraordinary art direction.

The film begins with the mining ship Nostromo returning to Earth with a cargo of 20,000,000 tons of mineral ore. The ship is still a long way from home when its computer picks up a distress signal from a nearby planet. The ship's crew are automatically awakened from suspended animation and directed to the planet to investigate.

The ship has a crew of seven. There is the businesslike captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), curious and incautious Kane (John Hurt), nervy Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), suspicious science officer Ash (Ian Holm), tough but brittle Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and two grumbling mechanics from below decks, Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and Brett (Harry Dean Stanton).

Dallas, Kane and Lambert investigate the …

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

Some time after the events of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and the droids C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) assemble on Luke's home planet of Tatooine, where their old friend Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is being held captive. Solo is still encased in carbonite, and displayed in the palace of the massive slug-like crime boss Jabba the Hutt. Our heroes plan to infiltrate Jabba's palace in order to rescue him.

But the rescue mission is just the prelude to a far greater challenge. The Empire is building a new Death Star, protected by a force field generated from the forest moon of Endor. To enable the Rebels to mount a successful attack on the Death Star, a small commando team, including Luke, Han and Leia, is sent to Endor to deactivate the force field generator. Meanwhile, Luke intends to confront Darth Vader (Dave Prowse) with the hope of turning…

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

If I asked you to name the biggest film at the US box office in 1977, you might well guess (correctly) that it was Star Wars. But if I asked you to name the second biggest, you might struggle a little. Was it Close Encounters of the Third Kind ... or maybe the James Bond epic The Spy Who Loved Me? Nope. It was a cross-country car chase comedy called Smokey and the Bandit, a film as divorced from the era of modern blockbuster cinema as its box office rival Star Wars is inextricably linked to it.