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

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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.

production details
Country: UK | 94 minutes
Release Year: 1960

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

cast
Dennis Price as Gore Blackwood
Raymond Huntley as Judge
Sid James as Alphonse O’Reilly
George Cole as ‘Flash’ Harry Cuthbert Edwards
Michael Ripper as Liftman
Irene Handl as Miss Harker-Parker
Mark Dignam as Prosecuting Counsel
Cyril Chamberlain as Army Captain
Eric Barker as Culpepper-Brown
Cecil Parker as Professor Canford
Wensley Pithey as Chief Constable
Thorley Walters as Butters
Nicholas Phipps as Major
Bill Shine as Usher
Clive Morton as V.I.P.
George Benson as Defence Counsel
Lloyd Lamble as Superintendent Samuel Kemp-Bird
Joyce Grenfell as Sergeant Ruby Gates
Warren Mitchell as Tailor
Julie Alexander as Rosalie Dawn
Lisa Lee as Miss Brenner
John Le Mesurier as Minister of Education
Elwyn Brook-Jones as Emir
Monte Landis as Octavius

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