On April 21st, Film Movement will be releasing a collector’s set of four digitally restored Alastair Sim comedy classics on Blu-ray, titled Alastair Sim’s School for Laughter. Available for the first time in North America, the set will include two hours of bonus content with features and interviews, plus a 24-page booklet with new essay by Robert Bergen.
Perhaps best remembered as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Scottish character actor Alastair Sim became a leading star of British cinema after spending five years as a lecturer of elocution at the University of Edinburgh. One of the best-loved and most prolific actors in classic British comedy, Sim, who often appeared in multiple roles, starred in more than fifty films beginning in 1935 and was both critically acclaimed and popular, regularly topping the cinema-goers popularity polls.
The Belles of St. Trinians (1954, directed by Frank Launder)
The schoolgirls of St. Trinian’s are more interested in men and mischief than homework and hockey, but even greater trouble beckons with the arrival of two new students. Features Alastair Sim playing dual roles as the headmistress, Miss Millicent Fritton, and her twin brother, Clarence. Based on the cartoons of Ronald Searle.
School for Scoundrels (1960, directed by Robert Hamer)
Henry Palfrey (Ian Carmichael) tries hard to impress but always loses out to the rotter Delauney (Terry-Thomas). Then he enrolls in the “College of Lifemanship” run by “Professor” Stephen Potter (Alastair Sim) and learns “how to win without actually cheating!” But has he the courage to put all his lessons into effect? From the director of Kind Hearts and Coronets.
Laughter in Paradise (1951, directed by Mario Zampi)
Famed Practical joker Henry Russell (Hugh Griffith) leaves 50,000 pounds to his four surviving relatives, including his cousin, retired army officer Deniston Russell (Alastair Sim). There’s just one stipulation – each of them has to undertake a task completely out of character for one month. As each sets out on their objective they find that quite apart from the promised riches, they are unexpectedly getting a lot out of the challenge. All except caddish Simon Russell, that is. Released in 1951, Laughter In Paradise was Britain’s top-grossing film. Watch carefully and see a young Audrey Hepburn in a bit part as a cigarette girl.
Hue and Cry (1947, directed by Charles Crichton)
The first of the Ealing Studios “comedies.” After discovering that his favorite comic is being used to send messages between a master criminal and his gang of thieves, teenager Joe Kirby (Harry Fowler) sets out to alert writer Felix Wilkinson (Alastair Sim) and turn the page on the crooks.
The Belles of St. Trinians
The Girls of St. Trinian’s featurette
Interview with film historian Geoff Brown
Interview with Dr. Melanie Williams, Sr. Lecturer in Film Studies, UEA
Interview with Alastair Sim’s Daughter, Meredith McKendrick
Interview with Steve Chibnall, Professor of British Cinema, De Montfort University
School for Scoundrels
Interview with Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw
Interview with Graham McCann, Terry-Thomas biographer
Interview with Chris Potter, Stephen Potter’s grandson
School for Scoundrels restored trailer
Hue and Cry
Interview with Steve Chibnall, Prof. of British Cinema, De Montfort U.
Type: Blu-ray (New Digital Restorations)
Running Time: 365 Total minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 Original Aspect Ratio: The Belles of St. Trinian’s, Laughter in Paradise, Hue and Cry; 1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio: School for Scoundrels