Monday, August 16, 2010

Shakespeare at St. Trinian's?

St. Trinian's. Dir. Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson. Perf. Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Lena Headey, Russell Brand, and Mischa Barton. 2007. DVD. Ealing Studios, 2010.

It's certainly ridiculous, and it's only slightly Shakespearean, but I recently watched the 2007 addition to the long and distinguished film history of St. Trinian's School for Girls.

Ronald Searle invented St. Trinian's in the 1940s in a series of comics (two are included below). It was—and is—a prep. school filled with the worst possible students and teachers. Therein lies the fun.

If you ever decide to watch this film, give it twenty minutes before making a decision about whether to give up or not—it takes about that long for the humor to catch on. If it's caught on by then, you'll likely enjoy the rest of the film.

In this film, the girls have to win the School Challenge Quiz Show at all costs. Naturally, they cheat unrelentingly. This clip contains the only direct reference to Shakespeare in the film—it's late in the clip, so wait for it (I felt the need to set the scene by showing both the first and second rounds of play).

And there you have it. Stephen Fry does add a certain je ne sais quois to the performance—but it's the Shakespeare that really does the trick.

I gather that a newer film—St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold—has even more Shakespeare. But the film hasn't yet been released to markets in the United States. Further bulletins as events warrant!

"Girls, girls!—a little less noise, please."

"Come along, prefects. Playtime over."

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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