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Monday, June 13, 2011

This Week's Films: 6

Most of Triple P's recent viewing time was spent finishing Spartacus: Blood and Sand which we will look at another day.  However, we did watch a couple of films and only bought one (A French Mistress).

Blue Murder at St Trinian's (1957)




The story

Following the imprisonment of their headmistress the school is under the control of the army for the protection of the rest of the country. The schoolgirls cheat in a national schools competition so that they can win a trip to Italy where they have been told by Flash Harry (George Cole) that a prince is looking for a wife and will consider the girls as candidates.  Meanwhile a jewel thief (Lionel Jeffries) is forced to pose as their headmistress on the trip.

Seen it before?

Once, on TV in about 1975.

Any good?

A worthy sequel to The Belles of St Trinians although Alistair Sim (apart from a small cameo) is missed.  The trip to Italy opens the film out somewhat and Terry-Thomas is a great addition as the unscrupulous owner of a coach company. 


Sabrina

 
Notable for...

Being a sequel at all in the days when a successful film almost never provoked one.  The first use of the words of the St Trinians school song with words by producer Sidney Gilliat:

          Maidens of St Trinian's, gird your armour on.


Grab the nearest weapon; never mind which one.
The battle's to the strongest; might is always right.
Trample on the weakest; glory in their plight.

St Trinian's! St Trinian's! Our battle cry.
St Trinian's! St Trinian's! Will never die.
Stride towards your fortune boldly on your way,
Never once forgetting there's one born every day.
Let our motto be broadcast: "get your blow in first!"
She who draws the sword last always comes off worst.
Gilliat's other lyrics were a little more highbrow, as he wrote the libretto for Australian composer and former Master of the Queen's music Malcolm Williamson's opera Our Man in Havana, based on the novel by Graham Greene.


Lisa Gastoni


Any good girlies?

Definitely more big girls in small school uniforms than the first film.  Honours are shared between the buxom Sabrina and the lovely Lisa Gastoni.


The French Mistress (1960)




The story

The new French master at an all boys school turns out to be a mistress, in the glamourous shape of Agnès Laurent with predictable but amusing results.  The headmaster's son (a young and miscast Ian Bannen) takes an understandable shine to her but an incident from his father's past threatens their burgeoning romance.

Seen it before?

This is another film fondly remembered from Triple P's childhood but we probably hadn't seen it for over thrity five years.

Any good?

After the huge success of their previous film, I'm all Right Jack, this gentle Boulting brothers comedy, based on a play by Sonnie Hale, received rather lukewarm reviews at the time and is certainly less frenetic in tone than the St Trinian's films.  However, there are some wonderful performances by the likes of James Robertson-Justice (before he became a complete caricature of himself), Raymond Huntley and, as the ever baffled headmaster, Cecil Parker.  The film is stolen by Irene Handl's bolshie dinner lady.

Notable for...

An early appearance by Jeremy (Boba Fett) Bulloch as one of the schoolboys.


Agnès Laurent with Scott Finch (who later appeared in 633 Squadron)


Any good girlies?

Agnès Laurent is delightful in this and we wonder why she never lived up to her billing as the next Brigitte Bardot.   She made fifteen films between 1956 and 1961 and then disappeared.  She died last year.

 

Belle Epoque (1992)




The story

A young deserter from the army is taken in by an artist in 1930's Spain (actually filmed in Portugal) and is seduced by the man's four gorgeous daughters.

Seen it before?

We have definitely seen it once but not sure where: maybe at Agent DVD's house.

Any good?

Drenched in Iberian sunshine this is a perfect film to watch with a nice cold bottle of rose Rioja and some tapas.  Touching and comic with wonderful performances throughout.  Delightful!

Notable for...

The second cinematic appearance by an eighteen year old Penélope Cruz.  Winning the best foreign language film Oscar 1994, although some felt it was a bit lightweight to do so. We disagree!


Maribel Verdú in Belle Epoque


Any good girlies?

All four actresses who play the sisters are delightful in their own, individual, way but the stand-out for Triple P is Maribel Verdú, later to be seen in the steamy Y Tu Mamá También (2002).

1 comment:

  1. I thought Penelope C. was cute in the newest Pirates installment. It hasn't gotten great reviews, but I thought it was a lot of fun. It captured the silly fight scenes of the first one and the black magic of the second.

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