St Ursula’s In Danger! (1983)
The follow up to ‘Schoolgirl Chums’ is Patsy Kensit free but does have a young Rupert Graves of ‘Sherlock’. He is smooth and has a different accent. It is the 1930s and at St Ursula’s boarding school ugly pinafores are worn by posh accented girls who all have identical Lady Di pudding bowl haircuts.
The opening credits are animated and Teddy (Graves) is the cousin of the heroine Alison. He comes to the school for afternoon tea while the rest of the schoolgirls head to Coxley Grange, which is the big house next door owned by a rich yank. He likes having them hang out at his place. It comes across as vaguely creepy and wildly inappropriate to modern eyes.
Did the word bullying exist in the 1930s? There is bad acting and Alison pontificates. Teddy lurks as a sexual object. A mad teacher hides in the map cupboard from her students. This was not a complex portrayal of pre war England. Nobody is suspicious of the American. Meanwhile a wave of panic sweeps the school as people see a ghost walking the halls. People run from a ‘ghost’ that is obviously someone with a dirty sheet on them. One girl falls down the stairs.
The ousted evil teacher/trash person Miss Prosser returns. Somehow she was never charged for setting the school on fire and trying to kill Alison back in ‘Schoolgirl Chums’. The obvious villain and his obvious lackeys go on being obvious. There is no redemptive goodness for them. Nobody notices that the ghost is obviously someone in a bad Halloween costume. The ghost plot comes to a climax during the school play.
Teddy drives his motorbike to the rescue to the sound of Ride Of The Valkyries. There is pantomime acting and plotting. Teddy tackles the ghost as said ghost sneaks around in his outfit. Teddy wears leather and the ‘ghost’ is unmasked. Smelling salts are wielded and the ridiculous ‘cunning plan’ is explained. The police aren’t called, brazen explanations are made and Teddy probably died in WW2. This was good leaving aside the panto acting and ham-fisted and self serious dialogue and the silly final ‘twist’.
“Went aboard for her brother’s coronation. Everything went haywire.”
“What it must be like to be so casual.”
“I thought discipline was a prefect’s duty.”
“Discipline? What discipline?”
“Oh I say, crumpets!”
“There are no such things as spooks. At least not in this school.”
“It’s ‘The Tempest’ this term.”
“You are not good.”
“Build us a new swimming pool. If we were nice to him.”
“I remain unimpressed by any of this. No, it is not seemly.”
“She saw a gray thing in the garden.”
“Probably the gardener.”
“Flitting though the trees like a little bee!”
“Transpose the lifeless printed page into real drama.”
“Away with them.”
“She’s in the map cupboard.”
“There be a spook.”
“Actually we are aground.”
“Yet another vile apparition.”
“No longer a fit home for the children of fee paying parents.”
“Heard strange voices behind the rhododendrons.”
“Deny it sir, deny it!”
“Insinuating your foul presence.”
“You old fleabag!”
Out Of Bounds aka Dead In The Water (2003)
A girl (Sophia Myles) is stuck in a rundown boarding school and misses her married lover. There is murder and boredom.
Love And Death On Long Island (1998)
This okay film is about John Hurt’s crush on the star (Jason Priestly) of a series of idiot films entitled ‘Hotpants College’. This was bittersweet comic fun.