Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1960s Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery, The (1966)

Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery, The (1966)

Leaving a notorious trail of arson behind them, the St. Trinians schoolgirls are always on the move. When we last saw them in The Pure Hell of St Trinian’s, they burned down their school building.

But their headmistress, Amber Spottiswood (Dora Bryan inadequately filling Alistair Sim’s shoes) is more than “just friends” with the Minister of Schools, Sir Horace (Raymond Huntley) so armed with a government grant, she re-houses her girls in yet another home, this time at Hamingwell Grange.

What she doesn’t know is that the Great Train Robbers have got there before her and left £2.5 million hidden under the ballroom stage.

Amber rounds up her staff: The Deputy Head Miss Radnage (Barbara Couper) is collected from Holloway Prison; the maths mistress Miss Bledlow (Elspeth Duxbury) drops six aces and leaves the poker table; the French mistress Mademoiselle Albertine (Carole Ann Ford) vacates her premises and takes down her notice “French model – third floor”; the games mistress Magda (Maggie McGrath) releases her wrestling opponent in the ring; and the art mistress Susie Naphill (Margaret Nolan) finishes her striptease in double-quick time.

A couple of delinquent young ladies – Marcia (Maureen Crombie) and Lavinia (Susan Jones) – are entered on the register by an oaf called Alfred Askett (Frankie Howerd, pictured below) who masquerades under the name ‘Alphonse of Monte Carlo’ as a hairdresser in his salon on Chiswick High Road.

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He is the mastermind behind the train robbery whose booty is hidden in the school, and his daughters are sent to St Trinian’s to help him get the money out – a plan which misfires when other St Trinian’s girls accidentally stumble across the loot.

Alphonse now has quite a battle on his hands.

It’s a slow-starting but eventually heartily funny skit on the famous train robbery, with the girls of St Trinians eventually driving – literally so, in a slapstick climax with trains running up and down the down and up lines – the gang into chaos and surrender.

Richard Wattis does sterling work as the man from the ministry, but, try as they might, Dora Bryan, Reg Varney and Stratford Johns (providing the booming voiceover) can’t hold a candle to the much-missed Alastair Sim and Joyce Grenfell.

George Cole makes a welcome though brief appearance as Flash Harry. Sally Geeson makes an (uncredited) appearance as a schoolgirl.

Schoolgirls from a Catholic convent school in Altona, Hampshire were used as extras in the film – the first of the St Trinian’s series to be filmed in colour.

Alfred Askett/Alphonse of Monte Carlo
Frankie Howerd
Gilbert
Reg Varney
Amber Spottiswood
Dora Bryan
Minister (Sir Horace)
Raymond Huntley
Manton Bassett
Richard Wattis
Culpepper-Brown
Eric Barker
Georgina 
Portland Mason
Truelove
Godfrey Winn
Noakes
Colin Gordon
Leonard Edwards
Desmond Walter-Ellis
Big Jim
Arthur Mullard
William (Willy the Jelly Man)
Norman Mitchell
Maxie
Cyril Chamberlain
The Voice
Stratford Johns
Chips
Larry Martyn
Marcia Askett
Maureen Crombie
Lavinia Askett
Susan Jones
Mabel Radnage
Barbara Couper
Veronica Bledlow
Elspeth Duxbury
Mademoiselle Albertine
Carole Ann Ford
Susie Naphill
Margaret Nolan
Magda O’Riley
Maggie Rennie (as Maggie McGrath)
Miss Brenner
Lisa Lee
Butters
Peter Gilmore
Gore-Blackwood
George Benson
Liftman
Michael Ripper
Flash Harry
George Cole
Hutch
Aubrey Morris
Mr Parker
William Kendall
Dr Judd
Edwina Coven
Policeman
Terry Scott

Director
Frank Launder
Sidney Gilliat