The all-girl school foil an attempt by train robbers to recover two and a half million pounds hidden in their school. One of the Brit Classics.
Frankie Howerd ... Alphonse of Monte Carlo / Alfred Askett
Dora Bryan ... Amber Spottiswood
George Cole ... 'Flash' Harry
Reg Varney ... Gilbert
Raymond Huntley ... Sir Horace, the Minister
Richard Wattis ... Manton Bassett
Portland Mason ... Georgina
Terry Scott ... Policeman
Eric Barker ... Culpepper Brown
Godfrey Winn ... Truelove
Colin Gordon ... Noakes
Desmond Walter-Ellis ... Leonard Edwards
Arthur Mullard ... Big Jim
Director: Sidney Gilliat / Frank Launder
Codecs: DivX 5 / MP3
A lesser St Trinian's film, this does benefit from scatty Dora Bryan as the headmistress; Raymond Huntley as her MP beau; Richard Wattis and co as men from the ministry; and Frankie Howerd, Reg Varney, Arthur Mullard and others as train robbers.
If you have seen the other films, you know the formula. The St Trinian's schoolgirls are little terrors who frighten the life out of authority and everyone else. The teachers are boozers, smokers, fighters, and gamblers. Put these together and the plot will sizzle.
Not as good as the others, and drags a bit towards the end, but it is a fun film which diverts for at least an hour.
As youngsters, there are certain things that we all believe in. Father Christmas. The Easter Bunny. The Tooth Fairy. Not me, though. I was different - I believed in St. Trinian's school. I was convinced in fact until I was at least twenty that this school was actually a real place. I'm not a stupid person by any means, so it must have been because I wanted such a place to exist that I spent most of my time in the library browsing phone directories in a fruitless effort to discover exactly where it was. I thought I had it narrowed down to the Home Counties somewhere in Hertfordshire or Bedfordshire, and was quite prepared to try and visit the place in person and leer at all those sixth-form schoolgirls in their gym-slips, stockings and suspenders. The best day of my life was probably when we had a fancy dress day at school and a couple of my female class-mates turned up in a replica uniform, and boy, did they look good! I'm not sure what the teachers thought, because they were only about thirteen I should think, and they definitely were wearing the stockings and suspenders!
These days of course the politically correct brigade would do all they can to prevent young girls dressing like this (even though it was all in good fun and for charity) and these films are often treated in the same way by many reviewers - with scorn and ridicule. The "girls" in the film who are wearing the full "sixth form" stockings and suspenders style uniform are of course well over the age of sixteen and into adulthood, though that doesn't stop some people wondering that maybe films like this encourage paedophilia and turning young girls into sex objects. Maybe there are some dangerous people out there who get a hard-on over uniforms and schoolgirls by watching this film, but I would hope that most, like me, were schoolboys themselves when they first saw this film, and that kind of makes it alright. It's all a bit of harmless fun, and like the "Carry On" films and other more politically incorrect 'stockings and suspenders' stuff where women are shown as sex objects first and characters after (Vicki Michele from "Allo Allo" is a good example), it's true to say they don't make stuff like this any more.
St. Trinian's itself, the brainchild of artist Ronald Searle (as I later discovered!), is seen here for the first time in colour. This, "The Great Train Robbery", is the fourth in the series. A little-known and less-often seen fifth film from 1980 is "The Wildcats of St. Trinian's". As is usual with long-running franchises such as this, the quality does tale of noticeably with each instalment. This film, though not in the same league as the first "Belles of St. Trinians" in 1954, comes across as "Citizen Kane" in comparison to the very weak "Wildcats" entry in 1980. The main advantage this has over the first three is probably the fact that it is in colour.
Unlike most people, I happen to think that St. Trinians rocks. I always have done. I wanted to go to school there. I still do. Words cannot describe how disappointed I was when I found out it didn't really exist. In this day and age of political correctness, it probably never will again - and that's a bit sad.
# The part of Butters was first offered to Thorley Walters, who played to role in The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's (1960)