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Films: H is for...

Happiest Days of Your Life, The

Treasurable Launder-Gilliat school hijinks from a play (previously televised by the Beeb, with a tiny Nigel Stock) by John ‘Kind Hearts’ Dighton, in which the Blitz forces the pupils of Margaret Rutherford’s girls’ school to shack up at Alastair Sim’s boys’ academy. They don’t get on together well, what with the inevitable clash twixt Ruthers and Simmo, and billiards, pin-ups and the likes of lairy PE teacher Guy Middleton adding to the friction. Then some of the girls’ parents drop in! And there’s a simultaneous governor’s inspection of the boys’ school due! Led by the inevitable Stringer Davis! Cue an elaborate system of signals and diversions to stop the two sets of interlopers from discovering the co-ed reality, ending in the inevitable rugby-lacrosse grudge match. Fine stuff, with great performances from both leads and Joyce Grenfell as Sausage Gossage, a sort of strident-yet-lovelorn cross between her Don’t Do That George and Lumpy Latimer characters. Throw in Richard Wattis, Laurence Naismith, Harold Goodwin and a young George Cole and you simply can’t go wrong.

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