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School for Scoundrels (2007)

Ian Carmichael , Terry-Thomas , Cyril Frankel , Hal E. Chester  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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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: #19,549 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "School for Scoundrels" on IMDb

Special Features


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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He who is not one up is one down! This movie, 5-up! 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
5.0 out of 5 stars The original and the best--believe it! November 16, 2007
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
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best British comedies ever made 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
4.0 out of 5 stars School for Comedy 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Honest seller. Product exactly as promised. Great eBayer
Published 3 days ago by Gerald S.
5.0 out of 5 stars A good British comedy.
I like good British movies and this movie did not disappoint me,
Published 2 months ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful British classic; excellent transfer
One of the great classic British romantic comedies, superbly transferred to DVD by CANAL.
Published 2 months ago by Nobilangelo
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent example of British humor from the 1960's
This is an excellent example of British humor from the 1960's. I remembered it as The College of Lifemanship which I think would be a better title. Read more
Published 2 months ago by salt chuck
This is no masterpiece..but it is just jolly good fun .I suppose that Alistair Sim is the real star in his drole way ,,but in fact all the actors are playing roles that they always... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Richard Turnley
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful
For more than half my life (I'm almost 80) I have enjoyed this story of the underdog, and it has guided my life. I'm always tempted to use some of the secrets exposed ....
Published 6 months ago by Masaru Hashimoto
5.0 out of 5 stars Alastair Sim
Wonderful bur dated English slapstick comedy that is just my cup of tea. "Ladies for your andantino, how about a glass of vino?"
Published 7 months ago by Phyllis E. Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Lessons in life.
Ian Carmichael, Terry Thomas and Alastair Sim act out a story of how to fight back and win over someone who tries to bully you -- and do it with humor.
Published 7 months ago by Kenneth L. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Comedy
The writing and cast exemplify comedic perfection, which is quite rare in comparison with today's movies. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone that enjoys a witty comedy.
Published 8 months ago by A. Ramsey
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British Comedy
Great British Comedy at its best! Takes you back in time to simpler days. Wonderful to see our old comedians in action once again. Loved it
Published 8 months ago by Lesley Mansell
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