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The Happiest Days Of Your Life [DVD]

105 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Alastair Sim, Margaret Rutherford, John Turnbull, Richard Wattis, John Bentley
  • Directors: Frank Launder
  • Writers: Frank Launder, John Dighton
  • Producers: Frank Launder, E.M. Smedley-Aston, Mario Zampi, Sidney Gilliat, Stephen Harrison
  • 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: 4 May 2009
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001TJKVPU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,135 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

From acclaimed director Frank Launder,‘The Happiest Days of your life’ is a precursor to the hugely successful St, Trinian’s series, set in Nutbourn College, the most established and respectable of boy’s schools. A military mistake billets a girls’ school to share the college’s premises, to the outrage of their horrified headmaster and headmistress, played with comic mastery by Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford. Initially the two are hostile to one another. However, with a staff of dazed, eccentric teachers and a student body of knowing and troublesome children, they are forced to pull together as the situation stumbles from the sublime to the ridiculous! Unmissable and hilarious, this is classic British comedy at its best.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 176 people found the following review helpful By Danny Boy on 19 Feb. 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Sometimes overlooked, this is a charming and very funny self-mocking episode of a bygone era. Set in about 1949 (the 1948 Railways Nationalisation is mentioned in a gag) this has a wealth of amusing characters, great dialogue and hilarious scenes when confusion reign. Initially the confusion is on the part of the St. Swithuns mistresses, as they arrive at what they think is a girls school; boxing gloves in the common room, and the school motto "Guard Thine Honour" puzzle and horrify them.
Alastair Sim as Wetherby Pond (what a name!) is superb as he generally politely stands up to the women.
The sadly recently deceased Bernadette O'Farrell adds the glamour element as the beautiful Miss Harper, and the failed attempts of the lovely Joyce Grenfell as Miss Gossage ("call me sausage") to woo English master Richard Wattis (a superb sardonic performance) are brilliant.
I love this film, and I must have first seen it in about 1975 when it was only 25 years old, yet even then it was a relic of a lost age.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By UK Filmbuff TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 Jun. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Another film that was long overdue for DVD release.

When a typical, English boys' school returns from summer holiday, the masters were prepared for some extra boys, from another school. They intend to make the usual "arrangements" and make the most of a bad situation. When the mistresses arrive from the girls' school that has been mistakenly assigned to the school, nobody, at first, suspects anything is out of the ordinary, because, initially, their paths never cross.

However, it is an entirely different story when the headmisstress (Margaret Rutherford) meets the headmaster (Alastair Sim) and they begin the task of trying to work with (or is it around) each other. Of course, the headmisstress is practical and resourceful, whereas the headmaster is annoyed and less inclined to be accepting of his lot. However, despite calls to the ministry, they have to get on with things and make the best of a bad situation.

Things then take a turn for the worse, when parents from both schools are invited on the same day. A plan has to be formulated quickly and the once staunch adversaries become allies, in trying to keep the two sets of parents apart.

With pupils dashing around on roller stakes, rugby balls falling from a cupboard, goalposts being changed, classes moved and the same pupils appearing in multiple classes, the worst, inevitably, happens and the dignified deception turns into a fantastic farce!

Watch for Alastair Sim, when he is asked to give an explanation for what's happened. A classic one-liner: "Can't you see I'm trying to find one?"

It's a great farce and a great film. A wealth of superb actors and some lovely locations make this a film to be enjoyed frequently!
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73 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Helen on 10 May 2009
Format: DVD
I loved this movie when as a child I first saw it. As with so many old movies, I never managed to see it again for many years. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying a lunatic farce starring Sim, Rutherford and Grenfell at their best!

During WW2, two schools are told they must share one building. Each Head assumes the other school will be of the same sex as their own, but not so. At first the Heads are horrified but eventually they have to work together when parents are due to descend to see the schools of their darlings at work, and pupils and teachers work together in hilarious scenes moving from room to room so parents can see lessons and games.

Priceless old movie, one of the very best. Would give it 6 stars if I could!
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Mason on 10 Aug. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The first in a long line of comic UK post war gems. 'The Happiest Days of Your Life' sows the seeds of the popular St.Trinian's series of films. Great cast with gifted acting by Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford. Directed by Frank Launder, it is different from the later St.Trinian's films in as much as the school starts of as a respectable boys school. Due to a governmental admin mistake a girls school is 'billeted' upon them with hilarious results. The old war-time spirit takes over and they all pull together to overcome visiting parental problems. The DVD is a good quality black/white film and is very watchable. (I too wanted to give it five stars, only the 'edit' wouldn't allow that change...) Postage from UK to Australia took four days. Excellent!The Happiest Days Of Your Life [DVD] [1950]
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Whiston on 30 July 2009
Format: DVD
This film became the highest earning British film of 1950. Margaret Rutherford & Alastair Sim are at their peak of comedic excellence adding to the mayhem which ensues after an error by the Ministery of Education mistakenly sends a girls school to share premises occupied by a boys school. This is a farce but of the highest order. Rutherford reprises her stage role as the headmistress with such belief that at times you feel scared for her protoges! Joyce Grenfell has some scene-stealing scenes as the hockey mistress which is later echoed in her role As WPC Gates in the St.Trinian franchise.
Would liked to have had the documentary about Alastair Sim included as an extra as it was on the original video.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 July 2007
Format: VHS Tape
"Gaming? Nicotine? Fisticuffs? We're moving in a descending spiral of iniquity!" So says the head of St. Swithen's upon inspecting the master's common at Nutbourne. The faculty and students of St. Swithen's have been ordered to share facilities at Nutbourne to avoid German bombs during World War II. Then there's the masters' library. "The Diary of Samuel Pepys? Abridged...well, that's something to be thankful for. What's up here? The Memoirs of Casanova? Wasn't that the book we caught Jessica James reading in the closet? Decameron Nights! Well, really! What ever else this place may or may not be, it's no place to bring carefully nurtured girls!"

Yes, a terrible mistake has been made by the Ministry of Education. Nutbourne is a school for boys. St. Swithen's is a school for girls. And what makes this one of the best post-WWII British comedies, Nutbourne's head master is Wetherby Pond...played by Alastair Sim, while St. Swithen's head mistress is Muriel Whitchurch...played by Margaret Rutherford.

"St. Swithen's?" says Pond. "You don't mean to say that yours is a school for boys and girls?" he asks one of the early girls. "Only girls" she says cheerfully. "Does this mean, sir," asks one of Nutbourne's teachers, "that we are to expect 100 young girls?" "It means that not only have the ministry made a mistake in sending a school here at all, but that it is guilty of an appalling sexual aberration!"

Margaret Rutherford's Miss Whitchurch, as positive and immovable as a battleship, intends to make the best of it, by briskly taking over Nutbourne if possible. Alastair Sim's Pond is exasperated up to his big bald head and is determined to salvage his school.
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