Thursday 1 November 2018

Carrying On with … Blue Murder at St Trinian's!

I've recently written a great deal about some of the other great series of British comedy films, such as the Norman Wisdom comedies and the Doctor films, and how the Carry Ons made an impression in these lovely films. I've now decided to write about another legendary set of films, the St Trinian's films. Set in the fictional unruly all girls private school somewhere in England, the films followed their adventures and those of both the staff of the school, the law enforcers chasing after them and the education department who frequently despaired of what they got up to!

The films featured countless wonderful performances and will always be synonymous with a handful of timeless actors. So without further ado, let's continue on today with a look at the second film in the series, Blue Murder at St Trinian's from way back in 1957, over sixty years ago!

What's it about?

When the students of St. Trinian's, an all-girl preparatory school, see their school commandeered by police forces, the devilish girls find ways to turn the situation into bedlam. Soon afterward, they cheat their way to a European trip, accompanied by driver Capt. Carlton-Ricketts (Terry-Thomas), where the girls are caught up in a diamond theft. At the same time, "Flash" Harry (George Cole) has been trying to get some of the older girls married to wealthy and powerful men.

Who's in it?

Following on from the success of the first film, The Belles, back in 1954, several familiar faces return to star in this 1957 follow up. George Cole takes the starring role this time as the legendary character Flash Harry. The gorgeous Joyce Grenfell also reprises her role as Sergeant Ruby Gates. 

Alastair Sim, who in many ways stole the show in the first film playing the dual role of Miss Fritton and her brother Clarence, returns as Miss Fritton again however Sim only appears in two scenes.

Adding to the fun is the brilliant Terry-Thomas, in a major starring role as Captain Romney Carlton-Ricketts! And look out for the reliable comedy actor Lionel Jeffries playing Joe Mangan. 

Carry On faces?

The Ministry of Education is represented by three familiar Carry On faces in this film. Carry On Spying spy chiefs Richard Wattis and Eric Barker appear together in the roles of Manton Bassett and Culpepper Brown. Eric would also go on to appear in Carry On Sergeant, Constable and Emmannuelle and contribute the story idea for Carry On Cruising. Carry On Doctor and England guest star Peter Jones also appears in Blue Murder as Prestwick.

Two members of the St Trinian's sixth form are future Carry On ladies too. Future Carry On Nurse and Teacher star Rosalind Knight plays Annabel while Carry On favourite Dilys Laye stars as Bridget Strong. Dilys went on to star in four Carry Ons - Cruising, Spying, Doctor and Camping. 

Playing the briefly seen new St Trinian's headmistress is Judith Furse, although her character, Dame Maud Hackshaw is quickly disposed of! Judith had supporting roles in Carry On Regardless, Cabby and most significantly, as Dr Crow in Carry On Spying. Cyril Chamberlain, a regular face in the first seven Carry Ons, plays an Army Captain. And future Carry On leading player Terry Scott grabs an early film role here as a Police Sergeant.

Finally, two future members of the Carry On Teacher cast appear in small uncredited roles in Blue Murder. Carol White, who played Sheila and Diana Beevers, who played Penelope Lee in Teacher, both play schoolgirls.

Did you know? 

Although having appeared uncredited in three other films, this was the first time Rosalind Knight was officially credited in a major feature film. 

Rosalind would eventually return to the franchise in 1980, graduating from pupil to teacher for The Wildcats of St Trinian's.

Sabrina, at the time a leading model and personality, got high billing in the film despite only briefly appearing and having no dialogue.

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