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School for Scoundrels


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Frequently Bought Together

School for Scoundrels + Terry Thomas Double Feature: Too Many Crooks & Make Mine Mink + Alec Guinness Collection (Kind Hearts and Coronets / The Lavender Hill Mob / The Man With the White Suit / The Captain's Paradise / The Ladykillers)
Price for all three: $37.62

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Alastair Sim, Janette Scott, Dennis Price
  • Directors: Cyril Frankel, Hal E. Chester, Robert Hamer
  • Writers: Hal E. Chester, Patricia Moyes, Stephen Potter
  • Producers: Hal E. Chester, Douglas Rankin
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: March 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MEYKC8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,927 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "School for Scoundrels" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Based on the Stephen Potter "One Upmanship" and "Lifemanship" books, a young man finds a very special school. It teaches him how to take advantage of people; how to seduce women, how to gain points in conversation, and how to beat a better tennis player by driving him crazy. He begins to put the lessons into operation.

Customer Reviews

The acting is great.
Alan Droob
As I have mentioned, the cast is great--Carmichael, Scott, Sim and priceless Terry-Thomas are superb.
peterfromkanata
This 1960 film is one of the best British comedies ever made.
S J Buck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on March 18, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
"... the moment when Adam bit into that apple. At which moment, the first loser was born. Yes, the pattern was set. The world was divided not into male and female, that's a mere superficial division of minor importance. No, there is another division, another dichotomy more basic, more profound. At that fateful moment, the world was divided into winners and losers, top men and underdogs. In a word, the one up and the one down." --from Professor Potter's lecture at the College of Lifemanship, Yeovil.
Or How To Win Without Actually Cheating. That's the subtitle of School For Scoundrels, this brilliant piece of British comedy from 1960, a title my father saw long ago and which I got him for a Christmas present, with a screenplay by Peter Ustinov no less adapted from three Stephen Potter novels.
Poor Henry Palfrey! Clearly, he's constantly in a one-down position to the whole world. In a flashback, we see how despite being an executive in his late uncle's firm, he's dominated by his chief clerk Gloatbridge, who treats him like a non-entity. He literally bumps into the girl of his dreams, April Smith, a stunning but sweet, clean girl who's a brunette version of Betty Grable. However, a rascally, gap-toothed, smooth-talking acquaintance, Raymond Delawney, impresses April with his savoir-faire in wines and food, and even his snazzy Bellini sports car. Palfrey ends up getting a lemon and horribly losing a tennis match, where Delawney replies with a plummy "hard cheese!" every time he misses a point, causing him to lose face in front of April.
He thus enrolls in Professor Potter's classes on lifemanship. What is lifemanship? It's "the science of being one up on your opponent at all times.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By L. E. Cantrell VINE VOICE on November 16, 2007
Format: DVD
This brilliant British comedy from 1960 recently suffered the cruel indignity of having its title applied to a crude, Americanized, lobotomized, piece of tripe. Put the remake out with the other trash; this is the only version for anyone who has risen above the rank of teen-aged slacker.

In the 1950s, America was periodically entranced by consecutive series of amusing and light-weight books of English social observations and "philosophy." There was, for example, C. Northcote Parkinson's "Parkinson's Law." Parkinson was a perfectly respectable naval historian who had noticed that as the number of ships in the Royal Navy had decreased after World War II, the number of people to support them, most particularly admirals, had increased. His "Law" was simply that work expanded to fill time and he provided many hilarious examples from contemporary British life to prove it. He followed that book up with a second one that was nearly as successful, called "In-laws and Outlaws." It was about, well, in-laws and outlaws. Someone else produced books on "U" and "Non-U" (upper class and not upper class--very, very British, that.) Perhaps the best-known of the bunch, however was Stephen Potter's "One-Upmanship" which created a new verb (or at least firmly re-established an older one) in the English language: to one-up.

Such was the popularity of the notions in the book, that very little time was lost before some bright spark wrapped a story around them and put them on the screen. The only surprise about the whole enterprise is how very, very skillfully it was done. Besides clever writers, the British film industry in those days boasted of a matchless stable of character actors, high comedians, low comics and farceurs.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Schryer on February 28, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In the 1950s I dated an English girl who introduced me to British comedies. To my pleasant surprise I found that the British have a wonderfully subtle sense of humor and I fell in love with a number of classic British comedies from that period. My favorite was School for Scoundrels in which Alistair Sim (fully equal to Alec Guiness as a comedic genius) is headmaster of a school which teachs "How to win without actually cheating." One of Sim's pupils is a desperate Ian Carmichael (who later went on to television stardom as Lord Peter Whimsey) whose every attempt to win the heart of Janette Scott has been thwarted by classic cad Terry-Thomas. Needless to say Sim's instructions allow Carmichael to vanquish his nemesis and win Scott's affections, though not quite as Sim intends. Please get this superb film and enjoy the various machinations which eventually bring about true love "without actually cheating."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. T. Spence on May 17, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Directed by Robert Hamer. With (a very young and handsome) Ian Carmichael, (a terribly nasty - and funny) Terry-Thomas, and (a manic) Alastair Sim. I've seen this movie so many times... from the time I was a child and didn't understand it all until now and understand it all too well... I've loved it every time. No -- no laugh 'til you cry. No embarrass your fellow human sight jokes. No punching and violence like the Three Stooges. No Obscenities. No Chases. No Belittling. Just humor. Soft, enjoyable fun. A story about an underdog who wins by winning. Yes, a happy ending! And (I'm sorry) it may even make you think (or maybe give you a few pointers on Lifemanship)!
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