My intention is that my next short story collection will be connected to Launder and Gilliat’s earlier St Trinians films. These are much loved and also, I think, quite important in their own little way. This time, I also hope to take a step closer to the films in the stories that I write. Rather than focussing on the audience, I’d like the films and their stars to take a bow in some way. How I will do this, I’m not quite sure yet. This proposal is more challenging to me as a writer and involves research into the making of the films, those involved in this and the contemporary scene.
So from this point onwards, The History Usherette will shine her torch on four St Trinians films in a series of posts, perhaps lasting for a year. I’ll share all my discoveries on here and hopefully bring us all a bit of classic film joy along the way.
The Link Between Ealing and Carry On
Coming just after the heyday of the Ealing Comedies and before the Carry On series, the early St Trinians films are a mixture of both. From the Ealing genre, they take a poke at the sheer daftness of the British Establishment. In films like ‘Passport to Pimlico’ and ‘Whisky Galore’, petty bureaucracy causes havoc; while in ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’ a commoner picks off a line of Dukes in order to claim the title for himself. In many of these films, you are encouraged to want the little man to triumph. What a disappointing ending to ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’, when we realise that the game’s up for Alec Guinness. In the St Trinians films, it is time for the little girl to triumph. Young girls have always been the underdog in traditional British society until very recent times. Here, they eschew prescribed, boring education for an early plunge into economic shortcuts. They outwit the law and the Ministry of Education. They are wicked beyond redemption but we so want them to succeed.
|Dennis Price and Eric Barker in St Trinians...after Ealing, before Carry On. Thorley Walters on the left.|
Have a look at my Beginner's Guide to British Cinema