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School For Scoundrels [DVD] [1960]

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School For Scoundrels [DVD] [1960] + The Green Man [DVD][1956] + The Happiest Days Of Your Life [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Alastair Sim, Janette Scott, Dennis Price
  • Directors: Cyril Frankel, Hal E. Chester, Robert Hamer
  • Writers: Hal E. Chester, Patricia Moyes, Stephen Potter
  • Producers: Hal E. Chester, Douglas Rankin
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Oct. 2006
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HEZ7KW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,063 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Henry Palfrey (Ian Carmichael) is one of life's losers. Despised and disregarded at work, his prospective girlfriend April (Janette Scott) is whisked from under his nose by charming bounder Raymond Delauney (Terry-Thomas). In desperation, Henry enrols at Stephen Potter's (Alastair Sim) College of Lifemanship, where he gradually learns how to get one up on the other fellow.


In School for Scoundrels wimpy Ian Carmichael wants to impress girls and get one over on all-round show-off and cad Terry Thomas (playing gloriously to type). Discovering Alastair Simms' unorthodox school Carmichael happily enrols and learns the quaint tricks of the day for securing the admiration of a fair lady. Ultimately as a star pupil he teaches the Master a thing or two about true love when everything turns out just fine in the end. Appealing to all male sensibilities is the idea of a magical set of simple rules for winning someone's affections. Set in the tweed-rich environment of an English boarding school makes this an even quainter notion. To watch this classic comedy is to cock one's snoot at womanisers everywhere while unavoidably making a mental list of anything that might actually work! The three central performances are brilliantly realised, particularly the role reversal between Carmichael and Thomas. Try playing a tennis match after a viewing without calling "hard cheese". -Paul Tonks --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By L. E. Cantrell on 22 Aug. 2010
Format: DVD
This brilliant British comedy from 1960 recently suffered the cruel indignity of having its title applied to a crude, Americanized, lobotomized, piece of tripe. Put the remake out with the other trash; this is the only version for anyone who has risen above the rank of teen-aged slacker.

In the 1950s, America was periodically entranced by consecutive series of amusing and light-weight books of English social observations and "philosophy." There was, for example, C. Northcote Parkinson's "Parkinson's Law." Parkinson was a perfectly respectable naval historian who had noticed that as the number of ships in the Royal Navy had decreased after World War II, the number of people to support them, most particularly admirals, had increased. His "Law" was simply that work expanded to fill time and he provided many hilarious examples from contemporary British life to prove it. He followed that book up with a second one that was nearly as successful, called "In-laws and Outlaws." It was about, well, in-laws and outlaws. Someone else produced books on "U" and "Non-U" (upper class and not upper class--very, very British, that.) Perhaps the best-known of the bunch, however was Stephen Potter's "One-Upmanship" which created a new verb (or at least firmly re-established an older one) in the English language: to one-up.

Such was the popularity of the notions in the book, that very little time was lost before some bright spark wrapped a story around them and put them on the screen. The only surprise about the whole enterprise is how very, very skillfully it was done. Besides clever writers, the British film industry in those days boasted of a matchless stable of character actors, high comedians, low comics and farceurs. These were men and women who could put a hilarious polish on anything.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By UK Filmbuff TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Nov. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A fun portrayal of how to get on in life. What a cast, too! Alastair Sim, Terry Thomas, Ian Carmichael, Hattie Jacques, to name but a few.

When Ian Carmichael literally runs into the girl of his dreams, he is swept off his feet. However, he soon loses her to the eternal "bounder" Terry Thomas, who always seems to have the edge on him! Even down to buying a car ("It looks like a Polish stomach pump"), in order to impress the young lady, poor Henry Palfrey (Ian Carmichael) just doesn't have what it takes. Until, that is, he enrols in the school of Lifemanship, run by none other than Alastair Sim.

As you would expect from such an impressive line-up of stars, this is definitely a film not to be missed. John Le Mesurier even gives a small, but convincing part as the Matre d', whose ears wiggle when he hears the sound of a Pound note being crumpled behind him, to attract his attention!

If you're feeling that life is always dealing you a bad hand, you should seriously consider joining the Shool of Lifemanship; you might enrol for their Interpolated Accountancy class, or even their Wooemanship class! Either way, if you watch this film, you won't be a loser! ("He, who is not one up, is one down!")

A lot of what is portrayed, is very true to life and even more relevant, even in today's bustling, insincere and two-faced society!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Paul T Horgan VINE VOICE on 15 Mar. 2004
Format: VHS Tape
This film is a showcase of British Post-war film making and the stars and production values that made it this way. Sims, Carmichael and Thomas excel in their roles as teacher, pupil and cad in this superb visualisation of Stephen Potter's writings on One-Upmanship. The film itself is stuffed full of stars of the era, Peter Jones, Hattie Jacques and Irene Handl to name but three. There isn't a duff performance from anyone.
Carmichael plays his usual middle-class English male marooned in a sea of indifference, power struggles and self-interest. However he has help this time. Guided by the wit and wisdom of Alastair Sim, he gains strength, confronts and battles his real-life demons to win the girl (played by Janette Scott, real-life daughter of the late Thora Hird).
I never cease to wonder at the ignorance of people who point-blank refuse to watch a movie just because it is shot in black and white. It saddens me that they deny themselves the pleasure of viewing classics like this.
This film is an excellent introduction to the genre of the British post-war film comedy. Buy it, buy it now.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By on 16 July 2000
Format: VHS Tape
One of the best comedies of its time.The notion of a school that teaches "How to win,without really Cheating".The cast is magnificent Alistair Sim perfect as Mr Potter. The beautiful way Ian Carmichael turns the tables on the dodgy car salesman is wonderful to watch. take my advise buy this film and enjoy
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lord Jusnaugh on 20 Feb. 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Any film that has both Alastair Sim and Terry-Thomas must have a head start above most others, and this beauty of oneupmanship is no exception. Throw in Ian Carmichael as the downtrodden hero and the stage is set for a sparkling comedy of manners and social standing. Sim is the cynical principal at a school teaching the arts of getting one over your rival. Carmichael enrols to prove himself beter than the worldly T-T, and slowly becomes a bigger bounder than our gap-toothed fave. Full of great performances, a witty script and a memorable cameo from Dennis Price and Peter Jones, this is one of the great Ealingesque comedies that we used to do so well. And if it only does one thing, it will teach you how to get the other fellow to pay for dinner.
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