The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's (1960) starring Cecil Parker, George Cole, Joyce Grenfell, Eric Barker, Irene Handl, Dennis Price, Sid James, Lloyd Lamble, John Le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell, Liz Fraser directed by Frank Launder Movie Review

The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's (1960)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Cecil Parker as Professor Canford in The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's

St. Trinian's in Middle East Conflict

As sequels go "The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's" is not as good as the original "St. Trinian's" movie but it's not a bad movie either. In fact "The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's" is still a very enjoyable movie as it brings back a few familiar faces to create a new story for the naughty school girls of St. Trinian's. And that is part of the reason why it is so good, we still have the set up of the naughty school girls and a familiarity to the antics which they get up to yet there is a new storyline which sees them not only causing chaos at the Old Bailey but also abroad when a group of sixth formers are taken to the Middle East to be sold on. It does sadly lack the wonderful Alastair Sim but with George Cole and Joyce Grenfell returning it still has plenty of fun going on.

The St. Trinian's girls are at it again and this time they are up in front of a judge at the Old Bailey, all accused with arson for the fire which destroyed the school building. Despite being found guilty they are given a second chance thanks to a bit of flirting from sixth former Rosalie (Julie Alexander) and the arrival of Professor Canford (Cecil Parker - Swiss Family Robinson) who talks the judge into letting him take over the teaching of these naughty school girls. Except Canford has been duped by the devious Alphonse O'Reilly (Sid James - Carry on Constable) and finds himself along with Flash Harry (George Cole) and PC Ruby Gates (Joyce Grenfell) stuck on a desert island whilst the sixth formers are being taken to the Middle East to be sold. At least there is still the fourth year girls left to come to their rescue as well as the men from the ministry who become suspicious.

George Cole and Joyce Grenfell in The Pure Hell of St. Trinian&'s

As was the case with the previous two St. Trinian's movies "The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's" doesn't have a complex storyline, just one which revolves around 3 things. The first of these is of course the naughty school girls be it sexy sixth former Rosalie flirting with the judge at the Old Bailey or just the entire rabble getting up to mischief such as throwing things. The second sees these naughty school girls coming good to save the day as you have the corrupt Alphonse O'Reilly tricking Professor Canford into taking the sexy sixth formers on a trip abroad. And then you have the confusion with not only the Ministry of Education sending two men abroad as part of a rescue team but also Sergeant Ruby Gates going undercover yet again. It's these 3 things which were the basis of the first 2 movies and they worked and again in this third movie they once again work.

The sort of cleverness of this is that there is a familiarity to "The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's". You know that with Ruby Gates returning she will be frustrated with Superintendent Sammy who she is desperately in love with and Flash Harry will be up to a few dodgy deals whilst have the girl's best interests at heart. But it doesn't end up just a rehash of what went before because we get new characters and a new location and plenty of new gags. It is credit to the writing team that they managed to create sequels which managed to bring familiarity without it ever just feeling like a rehash of the previous movies.

Of course like with the previous 2 St. Trinian's movies a big reason why "The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's" works is down to the characters and the mix of the new and old work well together. The old is that once again George Cole is fantastic fun as Flash Harry as is Joyce Grenfell as Ruby Gates, you know what you are going to get from both these actors and neither let you down. And then making things different you have Cecil Parker who is just as amusing as Professor Canford who finds himself being duped by the seriously dodgy Alphonse O'Reilly, played by Sid James. And Sid James is not the only familiar face as there is also Liz Frazer, Irene Handl, Eric Barker, Lloyd Lamble and Dennis Price.

What this all boils down to is that "The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's" is basically more of the same. You have the same sort of humour and a similar storyline whilst a mix of returning faces and new ones but it is entertaining. It does lack Alastair Sim who made "The Belles of St. Trinian's" so brilliant but with George Cole and Joyce Grenfell it is still full of laughs and by no means just a rehash of what was done in the first two movies.