St. Trinian's (franchise)
We are the best,
—Girls Aloud, St. Trinian's (2007)
St. Trinian's is a film series based on a series of cartoons by Ronald Searle (who also was responsible for the Molesworth books and Dick Deadeye, or Duty Done). The films are set in a disreputable girls' school where the only rule is that there are no rules. The girls themselves are teen and pre-teen horrors who are not above using either their hockey sticks or their feminine wiles to get away with murder. The teachers? They're no use, instead teaching the girls how to get away with crime in foreign countries and mixing drinks. The headmistress, Miss Fritton, has no interest in maintaining any form of order. And there's a local spiv, Flash Harry, who makes money from whatever schemes the girls cook up (usually).
The original film series consists of:
- The Belles of St. Trinian's (1954): The decrepit school is desperately in need of some money, so the headmistress allows the girls to place bets on a horserace. Things get out of hand when the classes place bets on rival horses.
- Blue Murder at St. Trinian's (1957): Flash Harry (George Cole here) sets up a marriage agency, resulting in a prince wanting to meet the girls. Problems arise when the jewel-thief father of one of the girls decides to hide out at the school.
- The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's (1960): The girls are kidnapped and forced to defend themselves against the sons of an Arabian Emir, who want them as their wives.
- The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery (1966): The school takes over a mansion in which thieves have hidden money.
The series was briefly revived in 1980 with The Wildcats of St Trinian's. In this movie, Joe Melia replaced George Cole as Flash Harry, and the film was not a success.
The franchise would have to wait 27 more years before a new film came out, this time simply called St. Trinian's (St. Trinian's School for (Bad) Girls in DVD release). In this one, the school is threatened with foreclosure by the bank, Headmistress Miss Fritton's brother (who wishes to build on the old ground) and the ultra-conservative Minister of Education. Faced with threats from all sides, the girls decide to pull off the biggest heist ever concocted by a bunch of teenagers. This one features Colin Firth as the Minister of Education, and thus avoids the Celebrity Paradox by making jokes about Another Country, Pride and Prejudice and Girl with a Pearl Earring. It's also notable for having Colin Firth and Rupert Everett perform "Love is in the Air" over the end credits. There was also a poorly-received (though not bad) sequel, St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold, in 2009 (featuring former Doctor Who star David Tennant as the villain). A third film was planned, but as of 2020 has yet to materialize.
One notable thing about the films is the fact that the Headmistress, Miss Fritton, is played by a man (Alistair Sim in the original; Rupert Everett in the 2007 reboot) who also plays her brother. The only constant, however, is Flash Harry (played by Russell Brand in the 2007 film).
- Accidental Athlete: Annabelle Fritton is recruited for the hockey team after she smashes a bust with a mobile phone she belted with a hockey stick.
- Amazon Brigade: The field hockey team. In the older movies, it would be the fourth formers.
- Badass Creed: "At other schools, they send young girls unprepared into a cold merciless world. But here at St Trinians, it is the merciless world which must be prepared."
- The theme song for the 2007 and 2009 films (quoted at the top of this page). In the second film, the students actually chant the lyrics before going into battle.
- There is also a line from the school song from the older films: Let our motto be broadcast: "Get your blow in first!" She who draws the sword last always comes off worst!
- Beautiful All Along: In the 2007 film, Annabelle's rapid-fire montage of makeovers twists and subverts this trope before ending in a standard expression that puts her in Posh Totty territory.
- Black and Gray Morality: In an oddly comic way.
- Black Comedy Rape: In the 2007 movie, Geoffrey Thwaites has a drink with his old lover, Miss Fritton, and wakes up naked in her bed the next morning.
- Note that the sex did not necessarily happen; Miss Fritton (played by Rupert Everett) euphemistically implies it, but the alcohol (its intensity boosted by an unspecified prescription medicine from her purse) knocked him out cold. (And is not exactly known to necessarily be helpful in sexual situations.)
- Blackface: In The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery Frankie Howerd's character gets a face full of soot and he then uses it to impersonate a Pakistani worker (with a dreadful accent) to evade capture.
- Boarding School of Horrors: As illustrated by Ronald Searle's wonderful comics.
- Brief Accent Imitation: In the 2007 film, Flash Harry briefly disguises himself as a German art collector...with a hilariously awful accent.
- Call Back: In the Legend of Fritton's Gold, the first scene with the policeman saying "They're back" is similar to the first scene of Belles . Also the travelling montage is very similar to that used in Blue Murder.
- Catholic School Girls Rule: St. Trinian's isn't Catholic but the trope still applies ("St. Trinian's Girl" is the British name for this trope).
- Particularly in the reboot film (emphasized by the fact the vast majority of the cast were actually in their 20s).
- Celebrity Paradox: When looking at The Girl With A Pearl Earring, one girl comments that Colin Firth was justified in wanting to shag her.
- Continuity Reboot: Given that it's a near-remake of Belles of St. Trinian's, and 27 years separate it and the last St. Trinian's release, the 2007 film is a fresh start for the series.
- Debatable, since references are made to the current Miss. Fritton's "Great Aunt Millicent", the same Miss Millicent Fritton played by Alastair Sim in the original films. A portrait and a bust of Sim as Miss Fritton (both of which also featured in The Belles of St. Trinian's) also appear. It could be argued that this is still a continuation of the original series. The current Flash Harry could be the original's grandson.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Princess Fatima in The Belles of St Trinian's. Annabel Fritton in the 2007 movie. Pretty much everyone else. It doesn't take long in most cases...
- Demonic Possession: Annabelle in St. Trinian's: The Legend Of Fritton's Gold gets possessed by her ancestor Captain Fritton. There is no real point to this scene, other then having the other girls scream, making the Emo do an exorcism, damaging Annabelle's self-esteem, and getting the second half of the clue.
- Enfantes Terribles: And how.
- Fake Band: Girls Aloud "play" one in the closing scenes of the 2007 movie.
- Another group, The Banned of St. Trinian's, are featured in the 2009 film. As the DVD reveals, the actresses playing the band actually recorded the vocals for the two songs they're show performing. (A member of Girls Aloud, Sarah Harding, is a lead cast member in the second film, but does not perform with this group.)
- Famous-Named Foreigner: In the 2007 film, there is a French teacher called Miss Maupassant
- Feigning Intelligence : Done as part of a Xanatos Roulette in the 2007 St. Trinian's. It helps that they actually know some of the answers.
- Fille Fatale: The Posh Totties.
- Go Among Mad People: A staple of the movies is showing how normal people react to being thrown into the school. Usually, they wind up either becoming paranoid or joining in the craziness. In the 2007 film an official at the Ministry of Education is shown to still suffer twitches and tics because of his brief exposure to the school.
- Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: In the 2007 film, the girls band together to effect this trope on new girl Annabelle Fritton as she showers, filming the resulting nekkid antics on hidden cameras and broadcasting it on YouTube.
- Handcar Pursuit: The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery
- He-Man Woman Hater: In the 2009 film, an entire organization exists for hating women. Both Lord and Sir Pomfrey's motivations are solely because of this as well.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Pretty much the entire student body.
- Honest John's Dealership: Flash Harry
- Jump Scare: Played for laughs, but a jump nevertheless, one of these happens in St. Trinian's 2 when Colin Firth's character encounters a possessed Annabelle returning to the school.
- Laser Hallway: The 2007 film gives us just about every heist movie trope in the space of thirty minutes.
- And any not covered in that film are covered in the 2009 film.
- Last-Second Word Swap: In the 2009 film, Geoffrey nearly calls the girls "bitches" during a tirade to gain Pomfrey's trust, but can't bring himself to do so, saying "minxes" instead.
- Little Miss Badass: The lower year girls.
- Lovable Rogue: Flash Harry.
- Lower Class Lout: The 2007 film has a clique of chavs.
- Mad Bomber: The explosive-mad twins in the 2007 film.
- Makeover Montage: A nested montage-of-montages in the 2007 film as Annabelle gets makeovers from each faction in the school doing her up in their particular style.
- Never Found the Body: Averted -- the policeman sent to St Trinian's in Belles never returned. The policeman sent to retrieve him never returned, either. However, they continued to draw their pay, implying they were simply too traumatised to return.
- Weren't they shown living on the school grounds with the sixth formers?
- One-Gender School: Only females.
- Only Sane Man: The undercover policewoman Ruby, compared to the other teachers.
- Open the Door and See All the People: In the 2007 film, reporters are at the school and Colin Firth's character stands nude at the window of the headmistress' room.
- Pirate Girl: Pirate Fritton from St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold.
- Quintessential British Gentleman: Captain Romney Carlton-Ricketts in Blue Murder at St Trinian's, played by Terry-Thomas.
- Samus Is a Girl: "That Sea Dog, was a she dog." Pirate Fritton (who is William Shakespeare) is a woman. Unlike other examples of this trope, this is blatantly obvious from the get-go.
- Stocking Filler: The senior girls have a penchant for stockings and garter belts.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Half the main case of St. Trinian's 2 dress as guys to infiltrate a boy's school. Disturbingly, several of the girls look more convincing as guys than some of the male actors cast to play the male students, including one who comes off as a dead ringer for Leonardo DiCaprio, and another who is so handsome as a boy one of the St. Trinian's girls accidentally takes a shine to "him" before realising who she is.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Camilla and Carnaby Fritton, both played by Rupert Everett.
- Also Sir Piers Pomfrey and Lord Pomfrey (played by David Tennent).
- Walking in Rhythm: In the original films, Flash Harry had a "theme" which played while he sneaked in.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Several senior girls.
- Unless you're familiar with Captain Jack Sparrow and his campy manners...