November 29, 2014

Films

A French Mistress – 1960 | 98 mins | Comedy | B&W

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Plot Synopsis

A French Mistress

The Boulting Brothers twist on the success of the St. Trinians franchise is this flat farce about a newly-appointed attractive French teacher who innocently disrupts life in an all-male public school. Despite a strong cast boasting a number of comedy veterans, the script based on the West End play by Sonnie Hale and co-written with regular Boulting collaborator Jeffrey Dell, fails to sparkle and without a body to satirise the film is merely a gentle comedy with a predictable collection of childish innuendo and playground humour. Cecil Parker tries in vain to save the day with a splendid display of blustering pomposity but pretty French actress Agnes Laurent, who made a couple of second-rate comedies in Britain before retiring, is handed little material and merely provides an attractive window-dressing.

When their old French master refuses to return to Melbury School, the stuffy public school for boys has to resort to recruiting a French mistress, Madeleine Lafarge (Agnes Laurent). The boy’s stage a protest until the youthful and attractive teacher arrives, and then they begin singing La Marseillaise and taking an unhealthy interest in her every move. Mademoiselle Lafarge parades on the tennis court in the shortest of shorts, displays her bikini at the school swimming pool and captures the heart of the headmaster’s son, Colin (Ian Bannen). The headmaster, John Crane (Cecil Parker), ignores the protestations of school reverend Edwin Peake (Raymond Huntley) until coming to the assumption the sexy French teacher is his daughter — the result of a youthful Alpine holiday indiscretion. The exasperated and guilt-ridden headmaster attempts to pour cold water on his sons romance but eventually has to come clean about the possibility of Madeleine being the lad’s half-sister.

Production Team

Roy Boulting: Director
Albert Witherick: Art Direction
Mutz Greenbaum: Cinematography
John Jympson: Film Editing
Hilda Fox: Makeup Department
Freddie Williamson: Makeup Department
John Addison: Original Music
Sonnie Hale: Play
John Boulting: Producer
Jeffrey Dell: Screenplay
Roy Boulting: Screenplay
Charles Knott: Sound
Red Law: Sound

Cast

Athene Seyler: Beatrice Peake
Michael Crawford: Kent
Thorley Walters: Colonel Edmonds
Robert Bruce: Mr. Ramsay
Kenneth Griffith: Mr. Meade
Edith Sharpe: Matron
Irene Handl: Staff Sgt. Hodges
Raymond Huntley: Rev. Edwin Peake
Agnes Laurent: Madeleine Lafarge
Ian Bannen: Colin Crane
James Robertson Justice: Robert Martin
Cecil Parker: John Crane



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