Review: ‘The Great St. Trinian’s Train Robbery’

Ronald Searle's little schoolgirl demons from St. Trinian's are berserk again on the screen in a yarn with a topical twist, the [1963] Great Train Robbery.

Ronald Searle’s little schoolgirl demons from St. Trinian’s are berserk again on the screen in a yarn with a topical twist, the [1963] Great Train Robbery.

Having pulled off a $7 million train robbery, a hapless gang of crooks stash the loot in a deserted country mansion. But when they go back to collect they find the St. Trinian’s school has taken over, and they are completely routed by the hockey sticks and rough stuff handed out by the little she-monsters. When the gang returns on parents’ day for a second attempt at picking up the loot they run into further trouble and complications and eventually get involved in a great train chase which is quite the funniest part of the film, having a great deal in common with the old silent slapstick technique.

Among the many performances which contribute to the gaiety are those of Frankie Howerd as a crook posing as a French male hairdresser, Raymond Huntley as a Cabinet Minister with amorous eyes on the St. Trinian’s headmistress (Dora Bryan), Richard Wattis in one of his typical harassed civil servant roles and Peter Gilmore as his confrere. George Cole crops up again as Flash Harry, the school bookie.

The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery

UK

Production

British Lion. Director Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat; Producer Leslie Gilliat; Screenplay Frank Launder, Ivor Herbert; Camera Kenneth Hodges; Editor Geoffrey Foot; Music Malcolm Arnold; Art Director Albert Witherick

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1966. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Frankie Howerd Reg Varney Stratford Johns Eric Barker Dora Bryan George Cole
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