Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WIP Wednesday: St. Trinian's School for Bad Girls (Oliver Parker, 2007)

A lighter entry in this column, St. Trinian's School for Bad Girls is of course not a typical WIP entry, but as it is a boarding school for delinquent girls it certainly warrants some attention here. Originally this was a British comic by Ronald Searle who said, "A St. Trinian's girl would be sadistic, cunning, dissolute, crooked, sordid, lacking morals of any sort and capable of any excess. She would also be well-spoken, even well-mannered and polite. Sardonic, witty and very amusing. She would be good company. In short: typically human and, despite everything, endearing."

It is an oddity of sorts, as it stars Colin Firth (Brigitte Jones' Diary, The King's Speech) in the sort-of role of wicked warden, Rupert Everett (My Best Friend's Wedding, The Madness of King George) in drag as the school's headmistress, Russell Brand (Get Him to the Greek, Katy Perry's vagina) as a second rate criminal, and a flock of girls some of which are known to American audiences. There is model Lily Cole (Doctor Who, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus), Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia, Quantum of Solace), and Mischa Barton (The Sixth Sense, The O.C.). Also, we have an appearance by Stephen Fry (Blackadder the Second, V for Vendetta, The Hobbit)

Annabelle Fritton (Talulah Riley) is our good girl. Her father places her in St. Trinian's after some trouble at her previous school, and for nefarious reasons of his own. She is well aware of St. Trinian's reputation and not at all happy about attending.

Our HBIC by default is Kelly (Gemma Arterton), a striking brunette with a serious dominatrix vibe going at all times. She is head girl and the only one no one messes with.

Gemma Arterton
The school is full of various miscreants of various stripes, and like Mean Girls (not to mention real life), the school is divided into cliques who are rivals, though generally get along. Think of it (again) as Hogwarts but without Slitherin.
Paloma Faith, Kathryn Drysdale and Gemma Arterton
The film has a very Animal House tone to it. The rival school (oddly enough, the one Annabelle left) are the Omega Theta Pis (ΩΘΠ) to St. Trinian's Delta Tau Chi (ΔΤΧ), not to mention Firth's Geoffrey Thwaites, Minister of Education, who is determined to shut the school down.

Annabelle gets a St. Trinian's Makeover
Not only that, but remember that nefarious plot I mentioned regarding Annabelle's father? Well, he is Carnaby Fritton, the brother of the headmistress, Camilla Fritton (both played by Rupert Everett). He wants to take over the school to make a hotel, and is increasing bank pressure to collect on old debts. As is typical with teen school/camp stories, they need to raise some money to save their beloved home. Rather than a flamboyant bake sale or some such, they go the criminal route and attempt to steal the famous painting "Girl with a Pearl Earring" by Vermeer (Firth had already portrayed Vermeer in the film Girl with a Pearl Earring, something they do not fail to make into a joke).

In all, this is a fun, silly movie. Don't look for anything too magical. It has some good jokes, lots of hot girls, and a twist on a classic premise. Well worth checking out. No serious nudity or language issues that I remember, as it is rated PG-13.

Watched on DVD.


Timothy S. Brannan said...

Sounds like a movie version of Hellcats and Hockeysticks! A game I am inordinately fond of.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Might be related. It appears St. Trinian's is a comic from the '50s or '60s, likely similar to The Addams Family. Lots of Brits seem to hate this movie, likely because of the history behind it, but I imagine that is how they could attract big stars.

Unknown said...

cute chicks

T. Roger Thomas said...

Still laughing about the Russell Brand credits!

Darius Whiteplume said...

@MM - Definitely

@TRT - I couldn't bring myself to mentioning Arthur. KP's vagina is not quite as horrible a thing to be known for :-D

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