Headmaster John Crane, MA (Cecil Parker), the guiding light of Melbury Public School. finds himself without a French master when term begins. He hastily engages one, but “he” turns out to be an attractive and comely blue-stocking, Madeleine Lafarge (Agnès Laurent).
Her academic qualifications are impeccable and she soon wins over Robert Martin (James Robertson Justice), Crane’s jovial second-in-command, and the boys of the school.
Crane’s sports master son, Colin (Ian Bannen) falls for Madeleine and so does Head Boy Edmonds (Scot Finch), whose Blimpish father, Colonel Edmonds (Thorley Walters) is Chairman of the School Governors.
Headmaster Crane discovers that he had met Madeleine’s mother many years before while holidaying in France. During a blizzard, they had spent a night together and since Madeleine never knew her father, Crane believes she is his daughter.
He decides to send Madeleine away, but the boys go on strike and Colonel Edmonds calls an emergency meeting.
In the end, Crane learns he couldn’t possibly be Madeleine’s father, but by now the outraged boys have set the gym on fire . . .
The script and direction lack finesse, but the hand-picked cast’s enthusiasm prevents the mixture of sentiment, sex and horseplay from becoming too thick. Hilarious in parts and well-staged.
Location shooting took place at Shoreditch Training College.
Headmaster John Crane MA
Robert “Bow Wow” Martin
James Robertson Justice
Rev. Edwin Peake
Staff Sgt. Hodges
Edmonds (Head Boy)