The Belles of St Trinians is The first film to feature the naughty girls of St Trinian’s School, this was followed by three sequels (1957’s Blue Murder at St Trinian’s, 1960’s The Pure Hell of St Trinian’s and 1966’s The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery) and a weak 1980 follow-up, The Wildcats of St Trinian’s.
Based on Ronald Searle’s cartoons, the first film is a terrific slice of British camp as Alastair Sim plays not only the school headmistress (in drag), but also her bookie brother who smuggles his daughter into the sixth form so she can pick up racing tips from a schoolmate whose father is an Arabian racehorse owner.
Gambling, drinking and general misbehaviour are the order of the day – as the headmistress notes, ‘in other schools girls are sent out quite unprepared into a merciless world, but when our girls leave here, it is the merciless world which has to be prepared’ – and there are some classic comedy moments that will make both adults and kids giggle. Despite the girls’ naughty deeds, it’s all pretty innocent stuff that’s perfect for tweenie viewers.
Is The Belles Of St Trinian’s suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Younger viewers may find Alastair Sim, in both incarnations, a little creepy.