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Classic St Trinians
on 4 March 2007
Three of these films date from the 1950s, whilst the fourth The Great St Trinians Train Robbery dates from 1966.
The Belles of St Trinians started off this classic series in 1954 and stars that wonderful character actor Alastair Sim who plays a double role as the Headmistress Miss Fritton, and her twin brother a crooked bookie who is out to make a killing when the little horrors become caught up in a betting scam. The delightful Joyce Grenfall adds marvellous support as a policewoman and George Cole as shifty cockney character who gets involved in the betting scams. Its quite funny at times, although rather dated now. Still worth a look though. Look out for many character actors before they became household names such as Joan Sims before her Carry On years, she looks so young in it! And Sid James along with Beryl Reid and Hermionne Baddeley.
Blue Murder at St Trinians involves a crook played by Lionel Jeffries who is a jewel thief and tries to hide within the school much to his dismay. In the meantime, the little horrors win a UNESCO prize to Rome and are off onto their travels to Italy much to the consternation of the local Italians. This is a little better than the first one and is quite hilarious in parts. Once again, character actors abound; Dily Laye, Sabrina, and Terry Thomas who was probably one of the great British character actors in British film history.
Of the four films presented here, The Pure Hell of St Trinians is the best. Its a classic in its own right. The little horrors end up in The Old Bailey charged with burning down the school. However, they are saved from a long prison sentence when a strange couple from the Middle East (Cecil Parker and Irene Handle) take them under their wing. Little do the girls know that the gym slipped 6th Formers are being recruited for a Harem. The episodes throughout as once again Joyce Grenfall and co set out to find the girls in order to bring them home are very funny with some fabulous one liners. Look out for the hilarious dance scenes when many of the characters from the Ministry of Education, almost on the verge of nervous breakdowns, relax by dancing to a silly tune. These scenes are some of the highlights of the film.
The Great St Trinians Train Robbery was made seven years after The Pure Hell and is the weakest of the four. A gang of crooks hide the loot of stolen money on the school premises, and basically the story is set around them trying to get the loot back from the little horrors. Frankie Howard does save this film somewhat, along with George Cole, Reg Varney, Richard Wattis and Terry Scott. It does have its moments, but doesnt really come anywhere up to the standard of the previous three.
Overall, its a good box set to have, good value too considering how many films there are. Good picture and sound, the first three in glorious Black and White, with the final one being in color.
A pleasing box set of classic films although the only drawback is that there are no subtitles, nor any extras to speak off.