The Belles of St. Trinians

Director: Frank Launder
Year Released: 1954
Rating: 1.0

The most interesting thing about this is how the British Censor Board didn't seem to raise a ruckus over Alastair Sim playing both a man and a woman - I thought the English ratings people had issues with cross-dressing. No matter - it's mostly a weak attempt at slapstick and goofy humor, which really doesn't work and isn't funny (I laughed, half-heartedly, once). Perhaps the British Censor Board never even watched it (and if they didn't I don't blame them). The plot comes out of left field - it should be more about the girls (its most interesting aspect) than what it is about: conspiracy and horse racing. Sultan of some country sends his daughter to the British school (St. Trinians) because it's so close to where his prize horses are in that country, meanwhile, the school is having financial problems and the head mistress (Sim, as a slow old woman is quite good in fact) bets on the Sultan's horse in a big race to put them in the black. The girls are a riot, literally, as they make gin, set up booby traps and cause widespread panic - they're like a swarm of locusts bringing chaos to everything they touch. But the film doesn't really develop any of them as 'people,' not even the Sultan's daughter, and this is fatal (actually, none of the characters are genuinely developed, even the two Sims). Even at 90 minutes it has a snail's pace - plus, nothing is worse than comedy that misses its mark.