School for Scoundrels | 1960 | Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas

School for Scoundrels | 1960 | Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas

It is fitting than the final great British 1950s comedy actually came out in 1960. Perpetual innocent Ian Carmichael and the eternally caddish Terry-Thomas had worked together many times before, but they were never better than in this film. Henry Palfrey (Carmichael), feeling that he is being outmanoeuvred by the crafty Raymond Delauney (Thomas) for the affections of April (Scott), signs up at the School of Lifemanship, where, under the watchful eye of Mr Potter (Sim), he learns how to cheat at snooker, cook the books at work and, naturally, seduce women.

There are superb set pieces along the way, including Palfrey getting suckered into buying an old banger ("They went out of business because they were TOO GOOD!") and Delauney’s fiendish cheating at tennis. Director Robert Hamer, best known for Kind Hearts And Coronets, mainly just lets a terrific cast play to their strengths, and the film has stayed funny over the years. Incidentally, some of the Lifemanship tactics are worth keeping in mind.

cast
Ian Carmichael as Henry Palfrey
Terry-Thomas as Raymond Delauney
Alastair Sim as Mr S. Potter
Janette Scott as April Smith
Dennis Price as Dunstan
Peter Jones as Dudley
Edward Chapman as Gloatbridge
John Le Mesurier as Head Waiter
Irene Handl as Mrs Stringer
Kynaston Reeves as General
Hattie Jacques as 1st Instructress
Hugh Paddick as Instructor
Barbara Roscoe as 2md Instructress
Gerald Campion as Proudfoot
Jeremy Lloyd as Dingle
Monte Landis as Fleetsnod

crew
Director Of Photography: Erwin Hillier
Directors: Robert Hamer, Hal E. Chester, Cyril Frankel
Executive Producer: Hal E. Chester
Novel: Stephen Potters
Screenplay: Patricia Moyes, Hal E. Chester

UK | 94 minutes | 1960

advertisement…