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Happiest Days of Your Life [VHS] (1950)

Alastair Sim , Margaret Rutherford , Frank Launder  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Alastair Sim, Margaret Rutherford, John Turnbull, Richard Wattis, John Bentley
  • Directors: Frank Launder
  • Writers: Frank Launder, John Dighton
  • Producers: Frank Launder, E.M. Smedley-Aston, Mario Zampi, Sidney Gilliat, Stephen Harrison
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Homevision
  • VHS Release Date: June 6, 2000
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303038514
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,807 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

The brilliantly droll Alastair Sim (A Christmas Carol) and the imperious Margaret Rutherford (Murder Most Foul) become reluctant allies in this madcap farce about a British girls' school that is accidentally billeted at a boys' school. The Happiest Days of Your Life, which spawned the popular St. Trinian's film series, builds from sweet chuckles to feverish laughter as children fight, teachers romance, and bungling bureaucrats sink into chaos.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best of British comedies June 5, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is a hilariously funny film, made in the early 1950's during the hey-day of England's Ealing Studios. Set in World War II England, an Academy for Young Ladies is accidentally evacuated to boys' school by the Ministry of Education. The story is a classic, however it is two of the top Ealing actors who make this film so very memorable. Alastair Sim and Joyce Grenfell are incredible as the incompetent headmaster and the never grown-up schoolmistress, respectively, who are gamely trying to cover up the potentially disasterous consequences of the Ministry's error.
For those who love old movies, old British movies at their best, or are just plain fed up with a fare of slick, expensive, plot-less Hollywood movies, I guarantee this will delight and entertain.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
"Gaming? Nicotine? Fisticuffs? We're moving in a descending spiral of iniquity!" So says the head of St. Swithen's upon inspecting the master's common at Nutbourne. The faculty and students of St. Swithen's have been ordered to share facilities at Nutbourne to avoid German bombs during World War II. Then there's the masters' library. "The Diary of Samuel Pepys? Abridged...well, that's something to be thankful for. What's up here? The Memoirs of Casanova? Wasn't that the book we caught Jessica James reading in the closet? Decameron Nights! Well, really! What ever else this place may or may not be, it's no place to bring carefully nurtured girls!"

Yes, a terrible mistake has been made by the Ministry of Education. Nutbourne is a school for boys. St. Swithen's is a school for girls. And what makes this one of the best post-WWII British comedies, Nutbourne's head master is Wetherby Pond...played by Alastair Sim, while St. Swithen's head mistress is Muriel Whitchurch...played by Margaret Rutherford.

"St. Swithen's?" says Pond. "You don't mean to say that yours is a school for boys and girls?" he asks one of the early girls. "Only girls" she says cheerfully. "Does this mean, sir," asks one of Nutbourne's teachers, "that we are to expect 100 young girls?" "It means that not only have the ministry made a mistake in sending a school here at all, but that it is guilty of an appalling sexual aberration!"

Margaret Rutherford's Miss Whitchurch, as positive and immovable as a battleship, intends to make the best of it, by briskly taking over Nutbourne if possible. Alastair Sim's Pond is exasperated up to his big bald head and is determined to salvage his school.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Pleasure of Their Company October 8, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
I rated this film with 4 stars due only to the fact that the original play it is based upon was & is a bit creaky to begin with. However for devotees of British cinema and comedy I need utter only three names: Margaret Rutherford, Alistair Sim and Joyce Grenfell- enough said already. These comic geniuses redeem, transform and illuminate an average vehicle of this most British comedy of errors centered around a public school. And yes, growing coffee in Tangynika sounds like a great opportunity.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best British Comedies June 5, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is a hilarious and funny film set in World War II England, when a girls school is accidentally evacuated to a school for boys. The story is a classic, however it is the top players who make this film so very memorable. Alastair Sim and Joyce Grenfell are incredible.
For those who love old movies, or are just plain fed up with a fare of slick, expensive, plot-less Hollywood movies, I guarantee you will love this.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tweed, Tweed, and More Tweed August 14, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
Frank Lauder's "The Happiest Days of Your Life" represents British comedy at its best. Alastair Sim (Wetherby Pond) and Margaret Rutherford (Muriel Whitechurch) provide a command performance as headmasters of separate non-coed prep schools. The supporting cast add an additional comical romp that begins as an ordinary day with the arrival of a new English instructor, Richard Tassell (John Bentley), which appears to be the plot of the story. However, that is not the case, and scene after scene show the unpredictable and uncanny craft that Lauder offers in order to portray the madcap adventures that occur at Nutbourne Academy.

The film revolves around a fictitious all boys prep school, Nutbourne Academy, which is situated along the English countryside. Problems arise when there appears to be a mix-up with the Ministry of Education. They accidently goofed in assigning an all-girls school, St. Swithin, to bunk and attend classes at Nutbourne; just the name of the school gives you the hint that all chaos will break out. However, not without a laugh a minute. The climax of the film showcases a visit from one of the all-girls school's parents and their tour around the school. And at the same time, the Governors of Nutbourne pay a visit as well. In the process, a lot of shifting occurs in order to prevent Nutbourne from passing as a co-ed school.

"The Happiest Days of Your Life" is one of those movies that show that within a whirlwind of chaos and confusion, laughter goes a long way. Enjoy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greats January 7, 2007
Format:VHS Tape
It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the great British classic comedies ever made. Sim and Rutherford dance an exquisite and complicated dance of manners while wrestling for power. Watch out for Joyce Grenfell who steals all the scenes. Although the world in which the premise for this film operated is now largely non-existant (at least on the surface), viewers will adore the little touches of wit and dry comments which are almost unbearably perfect! Why on earth is this not on DVD?! Beg, borrow or steal a copy of this film, yes, even on VHS; pour yourself a glass of port and take the phone off the hook. You will find yourself watching this time and time again and it is a guaranteed cure for any kind of blues.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Frenetic Farce set in the Early Fifties
THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE is redolent of an era of 'make do and mend,' when everyone in Britain had to endure the privations of education on a shoestring. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Dr. Laurence Raw
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad to Own It
Movies made before the 1960's tend to be my favorites for so many reasons, and this lighthearted film fits right in to my favorites list. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Oregon Critic
5.0 out of 5 stars Heaven in a Movie Theater
The Happiest Days of Your Life refers to your younger days spent at school. however no school is like the two schools shown in this film. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jules Posten
5.0 out of 5 stars Two British comic stalwarts face off in this classic!
This comedy Gem stars the wonderful Alistair Simm as the Headmaster of an all boys school that, by a clerical mixup, is forced to share space with an all girls school run by the... Read more
Published on October 11, 2012 by A. West
4.0 out of 5 stars Happiest days
First the picture quality, etc of this DVD is excellent. Next, I came to it with high expectations, recalling my enjoyment of it decades ago. Read more
Published on November 26, 2010 by petervans
5.0 out of 5 stars Margaret Rutherford and Alastair Sim join forces in the only film they...
"Gaming? Nicotine? Fisticuffs? We're moving in a descending spiral of iniquity!" So says the head of St. Swithen's upon inspecting the master's common at Nutbourne. Read more
Published on June 10, 2009 by C. O. DeRiemer
5.0 out of 5 stars Please Please release it on DVD!!!
The other reviewers have already said what a wonderful movie this is. All I am doing is begging the powers that be to please make a DVD available. Read more
Published on May 11, 2007 by Former world traveler
5.0 out of 5 stars Alistair Sim and Margaret Rutherford, all you need to know.
Alistair Sim and Margaret Rutherford acting opposite and off each other. What more do you need to know? Sit back, enjoy and marvel how they can do so much with so little. Read more
Published on April 26, 2005 by steve b
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD BRITISH CINEMA
Waiting for a dvd release for this one.
looks dated but still funny.no dorky special effects so the actors and actresses had to act which is something you can't say... Read more
Published on January 28, 2004 by M. Williams
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