Movies

Pure Hell Of St Trinian’s, The (1960, Joyce Grenfell, George Cole)

Pure Hell of St Trinian's (1960)

The third celluloid outing of the appalling St Trinian’s schoolgirls (and following on from Blue Murder at St Trinian’s) is niftily scripted by director Frank Launder and Val Valentine and played suitably to the hilt by a prime cast of polished British character stars. Professor Canford (Cecil Parker) arrives from Baghdad to plead for the girls when they are arraigned at the Old Bailey for burning down St. Trinian’s. He is placed in charge of the school and recently-discharged mental patient Miss Harker-Parker (Irene Handl) becomes headmistress.

But it emerges that Canford is in the pay of Alphonse O’Reilly (Sidney James), the agent for an Emir who is seeking fresh wives. And the cultural tour of the Greek islands, arranged for the Sixth Form by Canford, is no more than a ruse to sell the nubile Sixth Formers into wedlock. Which leaves policewoman Ruby Gates (Joyce Grenfell), wide-boy Flash Harry (George Cole), who is now running a Marriage Bureau on behalf of the Sixth Form, and the entire Fourth Form to race to the rescue…

Launder corrals his gangster schoolgirls with infectious zest and moves the wild narrative along at a suitably lively pace, making the most of his excellent comedy cast. “Well up to standard” noted Variety , “it will please all addicts of Searle’s monstrous school children… an outrageous frolic which throws logic overboard”. The series would continue in The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery.

UK / 1960

Director: Frank Launder
Writers: Frank Launder, Val Valentine, inspired by the drawings of Ronald Searle

Cast: Cecil Parker, Joyce Grenfell, George Cole, Thorley Walters, Eric Barker, Irene Handl