These films are a monument to British Comedy and the comedy stars of yesteryear that brightenned our lives are two prolonged and uterly useless world wars that the population were forced to endure. They are superb in their delivery of fun and freedom from the deprevation of wealth and common nessessaries we had to go without. I love these films and always will, they will never grow old as I do nor does their comedy ever age.
Probably these old movies are most loved by those who, like me, enjoyed watching then as UK schoolkids in the 1950s [cinema] and 1960s [on TV]. Simple risqué lines really amused British kids of that era like me [who were generally forbidden to swear in front of adults], e.g. 'I don't want arson about in my school' still corpses me now [I guess you had to be there]. I suppose my 1960s schooldays weren't that removed from those experienced by boys in the 30s, 40s and 50s, and the biting humour in satirical books like the 1930's classic '1066 and all that' and the early 1950's 'How to be Topp' still made perfect sense to me at 12 in 1968 - indeed they felt like they were written for my generation.
My quite progressive 'bi-lateral' state boys school had the girls school attached and there was an invisible line across the playing field that no boy dared cross - and the few times I fell foul of one of the lady teachers from the girls school they seemed like Amazon warriors [they actually charged at you like a rhinoceras - and it worked, as despite their lack of jurisdiction over us, we scattered]. I also noticed that in the girl's school discipline seemed far more relaxed than at our school, with the girls being actively encouraged to think for themselves [whereas this was considered a a little dangerous with the boys].
I thought my teenage kids [boy 14, girl 15] would love these classic 'St Trinians movies' as much as me, but sadly they much prefer the new 2007 and 2009 'St Trinians' films, probably as they are more in tune with their school experience that is now so different to the one I had, plus the new films are in colour [and accordng to my kids 'unlike these old films they have a proper plot, like a Scooby Doo movie' - although it's debatable whether a plot involving a stolen painting is that much different to one involving a stolen horse]. That said my daughter happily watched these four B&W DVDs [having enjoyed the later 2007/2009 films] - and she rated Pure hell of St Trinians and The Great St Trinians train Robbery quite highly, but didn't enjoy the classic The Belles of St Trinians [the horse racing theme put her off].
From discussions elsewhere, I have now discovered that Frank Launder co-wrote and directed a fifth St Trinians film released in 1980 entitled 'The Wildcats of St Trinians', which starred Sheila Hancock, Michael Hordern, Rodney Bewes, Maureen Lipman [who predictably recreates the Joyce Grenfell charactor], and Julia McKenzie. Apparently it was considered rather poor despite the triple A-list British cast and sadly sank without trace - shame it wasn't included here for completeness though.
However do seek out Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat's original (1950) hit school comedy film 'The Happiest Days of Your Life' which starred Alastair Sim, Margaret Rutherford, Joyce Grenfell, Bernadette O'Farrell and Richard Wattis, and sparked off all these St Trinians movies [although the girls school is St Swithins in this original movie]. 'The Happiest Days of Your Life' is now finally available on DVD as well.