Blue Murder at St. Trinian's (1957)
St. Trinian's Italian Job
Well that's a different cup of cappuccino - Flash Harry
When I reviewed "The Belles of St. Trinian's" I mentioned that it had a similar style to the "Carry On" movies and that similar style carries on with "Blue Murder at St. Trinian's". Again we have a story of naughty schoolgirls making trouble for pretty much everyone they meet but this time they are making trouble in Europe whilst also trying to get their hands on some stolen jewels when a bank robber and parent finds himself forced to accompany them masquerading as their new headmistress. And like before it's not a complex story, in fact it is a purposefully daft storyline which provides a vehicle for plenty of naughty schoolgirl humour. The only disappointment is that whilst a few familiar faces such as George Cole and Joyce Grenfell return and we have the pleasure of both Terry-Thomas and Lionel Jeffries, Alastair Sim only returns to bookend the movie.
With Miss Fritton (Alastair Sim) in jail, the girls of St Trinian's are running so wild that not only are the police trying to keep an eye on them but also the military, with little success. Meanwhile Flash Harry (George Cole) has been in Rome touting the older school girls to a wealthy Prince as part of the St. Trinian's Marriage Bureau and in order to complete a deal needs to get the girls over to Italy causing them to cheat in an education competition to win a trip of Europe. They are not the only ones going as on the run for a robbery, parent Joe Mangan (Lionel Jeffries) tags along masquerading as their replacement headmistress and so does Police Woman Ruby Gates (Joyce Grenfell) who goes back undercover when the police suspect that Mangan is hiding out with the St. Trinian's girls.
So as was the case with "The Belles of St. Trinian's" we have several little storylines overlapping to create the vehicle for all the humour in "Blue Murder at St. Trinian's". We have a storyline about The St. Trinian's Marriage Bureau which Flash Harry runs, touting the older and sexy school girls to wealthy men over seas which leads to the girls cheating to win a school trip abroad. Then there is the story of Joe Mangan, who having pulled off a diamond robbery finds himself hooking up with the school and his sixth form daughter, masquerading as their new headmistress and escorting them on their European jaunt. And this leads to Sergeant Ruby Gates once more returning and going under cover as a translator in order to try and catch Mangan and his jewels. All these little plots interweave with a few others to create a varied vehicle for plenty of humour.
As for the actual humour whilst not directly repeating what we saw the first time around is certainly very familiar and very enjoyable. On one hand you have the mischief which these naughty schoolgirls get up to from breaking into the Ministry of Education to swap their answer papers to causing trouble throughout Europe. And then you have the humour of Lionel Jeffries dressing up as a woman to masquerade as their new headmistress. It's all so simple as is the humour from Flash Harry's wheeler dealing but is simply so much fun especially when it comes to Ruby Gates falling for coach owner Captain Ricketts.
Now the one major disappointment when it comes to "Blue Murder at St. Trinian's" is that the brilliant Alistair Sim only bookends the movie with probably less than a minute worth of scenes. You miss his performance as Miss Fritton and whilst you have the fun of Lionel Jeffries basically replacing him as robber Joe Mangan forced to dress up as a woman it's not the same. But then you do have returning faces and once again George Cole is wonderful as dodgy dealer Flash Harry and Joyce Grenfell is as much fun as Ruby Gates especially when she ends up getting romantic with Captain Ricketts, a restrained but still fun Terry-Thomas. To be honest there isn't a bad performance in "Blue Murder at St. Trinian's" with everyone from the youngest naughtiest school girls to the more sexy sixth formers doing a good job.
What this all boils down to is that "Blue Murder at St. Trinian's" is a good sequel and delivers basically more of the same which made "The Belles of St. Trinian's" so much fun whilst also delivering a new story. The returning faces such as George Cole and Joyce Grenfell carry on the good work whilst the new faces such as Lionel Jeffries and Terry-Thomas add to the mirth. The only criticism for me is that Alistair Sim only returns to bookend the movie and would have been great if he had been central to the story.
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