A French Mistress (1960) - full transcript

The boys of Melbury Primary School are plunged into turmoil when the new French Master turns out to be a Mistress! Madelin Leforge's (the French Mistress) effect on the boys is swift and amazing. Suddenly everyone wants extra French Lessons just to glimpse the teacher in revealing shorts and bikinis. As discipline crumbles, a scandal explodes when the Head discovers the mademoiselle's mother was an old flame. Madeline must be dismissed to save further embarrassments. But the boys take strike action to stop this from happening in a breezy comedy with plenty of ooh la la!

foodval.com - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
[lively instrumental music]

[bell ringing]


You the French master?

I was the French master.


You’re right, Bert! It's another one.

Do you know, you're the third

we've carted away
from that school in the last…

Let me see, 18 months.


-Four, you're right.

What do they
feed 'em on up there? Arsenic?

Sausages, semolina, sweet puddings.

Ain't nothing wrong
with a nice slice of roly-poly.

You foreigners must have weak stomachs!


Ah, don't worry, mate!

A nice little session with
the stomach pump, a nice holiday,

and you'll be as right as rain.

When the next term starts,
you’ll be a new man.

Oh, the new man will not be me!
Never again. Never!

["La Marseillaise" playing]


[man in French accent] And although
Monsieur Fraguier is now much recovered,

you must regard it as impossible that
he will return to your school. Point.

Indeed, the Melbury cooking is now
so much discussed in France,

that we are under difficulty
to find another client

ready to make the hazard. Point.

in the more remote regional press,

have brought back only one reply. Point.

In the event that this applicant
is of no interest, dear sir,

we must re­quest you to look elsewhere,

for your satisfaction. Point.

[in French] Please accept my best regards,
etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

[in French] Thank you, Mr. Dubouché.

[in French] Hold on!


Have you considered the employment
of a French cook?

Come on! You can bung that in.
That's all good gristle!

[cat meows]

[crunching sound]

We'll have to have the beetle man again.

You go on peeling them like that,
we'll have nothing left.

You may as well keep the peel
and throw away the potato.

I was only trying to get the eyes out.

Ah, never mind about a few eyes!

They never hurt no one.
Here, what's all this about?

Matron left them there for you,
Mrs. Hodges.

Oh, she did, did she?


We'll soon see about that!

Ah. I think that's the lot.

Has our senior housemaster
any suggestions?

I've, er, placed Spaggs out of bounds
for my house.

Spaggs, the book shop?

Yes. At my sister's request.

I suggest this be extended
to the whole school.

Why? What's the trouble?

He has two daughters.

-They’re developing very fast.

What is the objection to the
daughters or to their development?

I should have thought
the objection was self-evident.

Have you any vital statistics?

Now, now. Come on, Bob!

I should like to think
the matter over if you don't mind.

Anything else? Mm?

May a more junior housemaster
suggest that we cut the time

between luncheon and afternoon classes

-by half an hour?
-[phone rings]

It'd give us more time for cricket
when school's over.

It would also give some of us indigestion.

I see absolutely no reason
why our stomachs should be sacrificed

to Robert Martin's obsession with sport.
I must oppose it, Head.

[woman] What house is he?

Oh, the new boy.
Then you must put him on the 11:42

from Waterloo tomorrow. Mr. Crane
will be there to look after them.

No, not the headmaster.
His son, sports master here.

No, this is Matron speaking.

Vests? Well they should be summer-weight.

Look, you mustn't worry.
We are used to dealing with delicate boys.

What's that?

Oh yes, before he goes to bed.

They all do. Goodbye, Mrs. Temple.

Oh, Mrs. Hodges, how nice to see you.

Yes, well, it’s very nice to see you too.

Though I must say

it's not so nice to be given this lot
at the start of a new term.

What's that? Oh, the new--

Yes! A new completely new set of menus,
without so much as a by-your-leave.

Not a penny more to do it on.

Two less staff in my kitchen.

If you’re going into that meeting,
you can tell Mr. Crane from me--

It wasn’t the headmaster’s idea.
It was the Board of Governors.

You see, there have been
a number of complaints last term.

Complaints! Oh, was there? Oh, I see.

Well, you can tell that clique from me,
whoever they are,

I'm used to preparing good food,
and in more bigger quantities than here.

I done it in the NAAFI,
and I done it in the ATS,

and I learned it from my husband,

who was Chief Instructor
at the Army School of Cooking.

He’s gone now, God rest him.

Oh, poor Mrs. Hodges, I didn't know.
I'm so sorry. What happened to him?

Why, he died of food poisoning,

as it happens, but that don't enter in.

Anyway, it was some­thing out of a tin.

The point is, he learnt me my job
and I learned it proper,

but you can’t expect the Savoy Hotel
on what I’m given.

No, no, of course not, Mrs. Hodges.
I'll speak to Mr. Crane.

Yes, well, alright, then.
You see that you do!

[headmaster] Well, in that case,
I’d better think that one over too.

-Oh, sit down, Matron.
-[man] Sit here Matron.

[headmaster] Now is that the lot?

You haven't yet told us, Head,

who's replacing our late
and unlamented French master.

Oh, yes, yes, of course. How silly
of me. I'd almost forgotten.

Well, it has been
extraordinarily difficult,

to find a replacement, I mean.

In fact I've, er,
had to take what you may consider,

to be a somewhat unconventional step.

-I hope I shall have your support.
-Support? For what?

Well, erm,

the next French master,

is going to be a, a mistress.

A mistress?

You don't mean a woman?

A madame Lafarge.

A woman teacher
in a school of this reputation?

Well, that’s just the trouble.
Our reputation.

We seem to be not so much well-known
as notorious!

Isn’t it about time
we did something about the cooking here?

We’re trying to.

You won't get far
with staff sergeant Hodges in command.

But Bob, what do we do?

What's the alternative with the money
we can afford? We're not a wealthy school.

I can assure you it's much easier
to get a French teacher,

than someone who's prepared to cook
for 300 boys.

In that case, why this woman?

Because she was the only applicant.

Term starts tomorrow. What could I do?

[inhales deeply] I take it
the governors were informed?

[headmaster] They weren't available.

Colonel Edmonds is on safari in Kenya,

Sir Harry is in Toronto at a conference.

I did manage to get hold of Blackett, but

naturally he threw up his hands
and refused to take any responsibility.

So what could I do?

The academic side of our life here is,
I know, the last consideration.

As far as her qualifications
are concerned, they're quite exceptional.

She graduated in English at the University
in Grenoble with the highest honors.

Postgraduate work in French
and foreign literature.

She has a diploma in Modern Letters.

which is as high as most of us go here.

I exclude you, Edwin,
and of course myself.

Oh, by the way, Professor Bonnard,

who tells me he's a…
he's a friend of yours,

recommends her unreservedly.

In other words, academically,

she's much better than any French teacher
we've ever had before.


Did I say something particularly funny?

No, Head. It's nothing to do with you.

I was just wondering
what the boys were likely to say.

-[upbeat music]

How many periods have we got
with old Peake?

[boy 1] Five.

[all] Oh, no!

Wait a sec! Look at this!
"French, madame Lafarge."

[boy 2] What? It's a gag!
He’s pulling our legs!

It's true, I tell you.
"French, madame Lafarge," there it is!

-Out of my way, you chaps!

[boy 3] I say, chaps.
She could come and stay with us.

[noisy chatter]

Listen! Listen, you chaps! Guess what?

Guess nothing! Buzz off, stinker!

-Honestly! Terrific news!
-Such as?

-We're going to have a French mistress.
-Such as, you’re a little liar!

Alright, but it’s true! It's on the board!


[upbeat music]

[boy 1] I say, sir. I say, sir.

-Is it true, sir?

[boy 2] About madame Lafarge.

What true about madame Lafarge?

-Well, she’s a woman, sir.
-It seems not unlikely.

I say, Warwick.
What about this French dame?

-Oh, I don’t believe it.
-It's perfectly true.

-Even old Bow-wow confirmed it.
-Well what's she like?

Has anyone seen her?

Not yet.
She's coming down with the new boys.

-Someone said she has a moustache.
-And never takes a bath, I suppose?

I don't know what this place is coming to.
It used to rank as a public school.

They’ll be teaching us dancing next.

[all laughing]

Look, how about some sort of protest?

[excited chattering]

But Mrs., erm…

These are all matters for his housemaster.

What's that? His hair?

Well, Mr. Adams, the school barber,
will cut it for him.

Who? Tony Curtis?

I doubt if Mr. Adams
has ever heard of him.

In any case, I'm afraid
we can't make any exceptions.

I'm sorry, Mrs., erm… Goodbye.

Can I deal with it, Head? Who was it?

I haven't the remotest idea.

I do wish parents
wouldn't get on to me direct.

Specially on the first day of term.

Now where did I put
those health certificates?

All yours checked in, Bob?

Yes, all safely under lock and key.

I've acquired one new beauty.

Master Spottiswood. Listen to his mum.

"Just had his tonsils out,
must therefore play no rough games.

Boy of gentle and sensitive disposition,

used to affectionate home atmosphere,

and rose hip syrup three times a day."

Of course what he really needs,

is our Melbury course
of cold baths and cross-country runs.

Oh, here we are, Matron.

-What about School House?
-Apart from the new boys,

only the Irish contingent to come,

I can't imagine why the accident
of being born in Ireland,

automatically gives a boy
the right to an extra day's holiday.

I suppose they think
they ought to travel in our time.

Matron. I'm rather worried about
putting madame Lafarge on the top floor.

Why, Headmaster?

You don't think the stairs
will be too much for her?

Well, I imagine if she's fit to tackle
Melbury French classes,

she's fit to tackle a few stairs.

She's not disabled, is she?

Well, amongst the other rumors,
one credits her with having a wooden leg.

I can't understand
how these rumors get started.

As far as I'm aware,
she's perfectly sound in wind, limb

-[knocks on door]

Come in.

-Oh, I'm sorry, sir.
-Oh, come in, Edmonds.

Well, if there's nothing else,
Headmaster, I've a lot to do.

Alright, Matron.

-Nice to see you back, Edmonds.
-Oh, thank you, Matron.

-How are you, Edmonds?
-Fine, thank you, sir.

Looking forward to the term?

Well, sir, I was, yes.

Was? What does that mean?

It depends, sir.

On what? The cricket eleven?

You've six old colors back.
I've never known a stronger side.

I'm… I'm not worried about the eleven sir.

Well, what then?

The prefects?
They're a pretty sound, lot aren't they?

Yes. And they'll need to be.

Edmonds, is there something on your mind?
Because if so, I wish you'd tell me.

I'd like to, sir.

-It's this old…

I mean it…
it's this new French mistress, sir.

Now look here, Edmonds.

That is exactly the sort of attitude
that I am not going to tolerate!

I'm not speaking for myself, sir. I'm…

I'm just reporting the general feeling.

What precisely is that?

Well, sir, that it's a…
it's a bad let down, sir.

In what way?

The fellows feel
you're turning the place into a sort of…

a sort of dame school, sir.

Dame school?


I can see nothing funny in this!

Now please understand, Edmonds.

Madame Lafarge comes to us
with a distinguished academic record.

She will receive the respect
due to her age,

and the courtesy that
she will naturally expect at a school,

allegedly for the sons of gentlemen.

There will be no rudeness.

There will be no ragging.
There will be no--

[boys singing in the distance]

Too late, I fear.

♪ Days of triumph now are done ♪

♪ Men of Melbury one by one ♪

Edmonds. What are they doing?

It's the dirge, sir.

Yes, I know that.

Why are they singing it now?

It's reserved for moments
of great tragedy, like losing a match.

I am not unfamiliar
with the customs of the school,

but I ask again.
Why are they singing it now?

Well, I suppose it could herald
the approach of madame Lafarge.

What? Good heavens!

Edmonds! Go out there and stop it at once!

Oh yes, sir. I'll try.

Look out, fellows. Here she comes!

[booing, jeering]

[dramatic music]

[Mrs. Hughes] It's a nice row
they're kicking up, Matron.

I think it's the new French mistress.

Mm. If she thinks
she's getting her potatoes sauté,

she's got another thing coming!

Can't see a damn thing.


It’s nothing to laugh about.
What must she think of us?

-It's absolutely disgraceful.
-There's no need to flap, John.

[boys singing in the distance]

Wait a minute.

That isn't the school lament.

Isn't there some resemblance
to "The Marseillaise"?

Yes. Do you detect a note of triumph?

-I do.
-So do I. Bob.

I have an awful foreboding.

-[knocks on door]
-Come in.

-Yes, Edmonds?
-Oh, yes, sir.

[distant cheering]

[in French accent] Good afternoon,

Good… heavens.

-Let me see, you're, um…
-[in French] Madeleine Lafarge, Monsieur.


You, were not expecting me?

Certainly not! I mean…

of course we were!

-Please come in.
-Thank you.

Oh, this is Robert Martin,
one of our housemasters.

How do you do?

We're absolutely delighted
to have you here, madame Lafarge.

You are very kind but I am Mademoiselle.

Oh! Splendid!

That's a much better idea.
Won't you take a pew?

-He means, er, won’t you sit down.
-Oh, thank you.


You're glaring at Mademoiselle.

Oh, I'm sorry, sir.

This is Edmonds, our head boy.

Oh! But he's a man!

Edmonds. You'd better go.

Oh yes, sir. Whatever you say, sir.

That's exactly what I did say.

-I beg your pardon, sir.
-[headmaster] It’s over there.

-What, sir?
-The door, Edmonds!

Oh yes, sir.


Other side, boy!

He usually leaves by the fireplace.

I'm so sorry.

I do hope the boys' reception
didn't disturb you?

Oh, it was charming.
At first a little sad, perhaps.

Oh, in this country, we're inclined
to take our pleasures sadly.

-[boys singing in the distance]
-There they go again.

This has gone far enough.

Bob, go out there
and stop it at once, will you?

-Oh, please,

I don’t want the boys to suffer for me.

I've an idea they'd be very glad to.

-Well, Monsieur?

Well, I…

I hardly know where to begin.

Begin what, Monsieur?

I mean it… it's been rather a surprise.

-My arrival?
-No, no! Y… your age.

I, I'd imagined someone
considerably more mature.

Oh, I'm sorry.

Oh, not at all.

It does raise, certain problems.

But in the contract,
there was no mention of age.

No, no, of course not.
One naturally assumed that…

someone with your qualifications,
I mean diploma in Modern Letters,

and already teaching at a boys' school…

You are disappointed?

Please don’t think that.

No, I'm just a little apprehensive
for the boys.

Oh. I promise I will try very hard
to make close friends with them.


Well, you needn’t try too hard.

-[knocks on door]
-Come in.


Oh, we just came to say
how glad we are to be back, sir.

And to ask if you’re fit and well, sir.

Yes, that’s it, sir.

I'm aware, gentlemen,

that a headmaster
should always be prepared for the unusual,

the bizarre.

Bizarre, sir?

I'm over here, Slater.

Oh, yes, sir.

I must confess
I find the solicitude of the Lower School

almost overwhelming.

However, it mustn't remain unrewarded.

Mademoiselle, allow me to introduce you
to Messrs. Wigram.

How do you do, Mademoiselle?

-How do you do?

-How do you do, Mademoiselle?
-How do you do?

And let me see… Baines, isn't it?

Yes, sir.

[in French] Nice to
meet you, Mademoiselle.

[in French] Ah.
You speak French very well.

[in French] Have you been to France?


Well. Er.

[in French] Uh. The…

Well, Baines, we seem to have started
something but we can't finish it.

[Mademoiselle Lafarge] Oh, please, no.

Per… perhaps it is that I speak too fast.

It was very kind of you
to speak to me in my own language.

[in French] Oh,
nice to meet you, Mademoiselle!

Yes, well. Before you strain
your French vocabulary too far,

you may depart.

-Yes, sir.
-Thank you, sir.

And, er, please don't forget
to tell your friends,

that I’m in excellent condition,

especially in the right arm.

-Yes, sir.
-Thank you, sir.

[Baines] Good afternoon, sir.

[in French] Nice to meet you.

[headmaster] Oh, come in, Matron.

This is, er, Mademoiselle Lafarge.

Well, this is nice.
I'm very glad to see you here.

You are very kind.

Matron has arranged your rooms.
Next to hers.

Yes, my dear, you'll be quite safe.

Thank you.

If you've finished with her,
I'll take her up now.

By all means, yes.

-[in French] Goodbye, Monsieur.
-[in French] Good bye.

Oh, Matron!
You'll bring her down to the bun-fight?

Of course. Come along, my dear.


[humming "La Marseillaise"]

[coughs, clears throat]

You know it's good for us all,
having you here.

Especially me,
surrounded by all these men.

Now here you are.

You can see
there's still quite a lot to be done,

but now that you’re here, it’ll be easier.

Put those down over there.

Is there anything else to be carried up,

No, thank you very much. Off you go.

Thank you all very much.

[in French] At your service, Miss.

You know, all the time I've been here,

no one’s ever offered to carry my bag.

Amazing, the effect of a pretty face.

-Look, I’ve put two blankets--
-Matron, I've dumped the new boys.

[bright romantic music]


I'm sorry.

See what I mean? Amazing!

Mademoiselle Lafarge,
this is Colin Crane, the Headmaster's son.

-How do you do?
-Mademoiselle's the new French mistress.

No. But I thought--

-We all did. We were all wrong.
-Well, that's wonderful!

Yes. Well,
I must get down to those new boys.

-Perhaps you'll look after Mademoiselle.

[bright romantic music]

-[chuckles softly]

-You, teach here?
-Oh, yes.

I'm in charge of fun and games.

Fun and games?

You know, cricket, football…

-[in French] Ah. The sport.
-That's right.

You know,
you're just what this place needed.

I hope you're going to like it here.

I'm sure I shall. Everything is so nice.

[Mademoiselle Lafarge] The building
is very, old?

Victorian. Like some of the inhabitants.

[chuckling, chatter]

My sister was wondering
about accommodation

for Mademoiselle Lafarge.

-Weren't you, Beatrice?

There'll be some difficulty, won't there,
about finding suitable sleeping quarters?

Oh, no.

Mademoiselle Lafarge is in the west wing,
right next door to me.

While Father and I, of course,
are in the east wing.

[Beatrice] Yes, yes, naturally.

Still, there's a great responsibility
with anyone so young.

Surely your parents felt some anxiety
about your accepting a post of this kind?

Oh, no, it was my mother's idea
that I should come.

-It was she who saw the advertisement.
-Good for her.

Wasn't she at all worried?

Oh, no.
She has a great regard for England.

I think [chuckles softly]

perhaps she must have been once
a little in love with an Englishman.

[Colin] Clearly a woman of taste.

Where is your home, my dear?

I live in a small village. Near Chaumont.

But that’s our old stamping ground.

The Head and I used to climb
round there in our university days.

Then perhaps, Monsieur,
you know Monton-Eglise?

Monton-Eglise. Good heavens!
Do you hear that, John?

-Oh, you do know it?
-Well, it was our village too.

We stayed there for, let me see,
two or was it three years in succession.

Wonderful climbing country.

I am feeling more at home every minute.

I thought I understood you came from Lyon.

I was working there, Monsieur.

But my home is at Monton-Eglise.

Ah, of course, you were studying
at the University of Lyon.

Oh, no, no. Mademoiselle was
already teaching at a boys' school there.

But, I have to confess,

the oldest boys there was,

You'll find a considerable difference
between six-year-olds

and our 18-year-olds.

Not, of course,
that they won’t behave as gentlemen.

Oh, don't worry, Monsieur. In France,
we learn to deal with gentlemen also.

[Mr. Martin chuckling] Well said!

I see from the time table,
Mademoiselle is due to take

the upper fifth
first thing tomorrow morning.

A riper collection
of young English gentlemen

on which to demonstrate her prowess
would be hard to find.

[soft bright music]

[lighthearted music]

[in French] Good morning, messieurs.

-Good morning, Mademoiselle.
-[in French] And good luck.

[in French] Thank you very much.

[in French] Sit down.


[playful music]

Now for this term,
you are going to study with me,

Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Molière.


Mademoiselle. Couldn't we have
something a bit more interesting?

Have you any special idea?

Well, um. How about La Vie Parisienne?

[hearty laughter]

-May I have your name, Monsieur?
-Milsom, Mademoiselle.

[in French] Thank you, Milsom.

I will tell the headmaster
about this very interesting idea of yours.

[hearty laughter]

Now will you please
open your books at page one.

[playful music]

Just a minute, Bob.
Aren't you taking lower fourth history?

That's right.

-Bit late, aren't you?
-I'm on my way.

Which way?

Which way would you suggest?

The shortest.

Oh, yes, of course.

[boys laughing]

Oh, John. Surely you’re taking the sixth?

Hmm? Yes. I'm on my way too.

Good. Then we can both go together!

[bright music]

-[boys laughing]

Get on with your work!

Do as you're told!

[boys laughing]

[boy] I don't know what
they're laughing at. It's not funny.

[boys laughing]

[boys shouting]

-[shouting] Please!


Cut it out, you chaps!
Give Mademoiselle a chance.

Please! Be quiet!

Will someone
please clean for me the blackboard?

I will, Mademoiselle.

[loud ruckus]

Oh. No!

Stop it!

Go back! Go back!

Please! Quiet!

[shouting] Quiet!

[Mademoiselle Lafarge] Please go back.

Sit down.
You will all go back to your seats.

-Including master Milsom.
-Yes sir.

And you, Slater.


Well. I know some of them can't help it.

The maladjusted, delinquent section,
but I thought the others had more sense.

What’s the big idea?
Trying to get Mademoiselle the sack?

-[boys] Oh, no, sir!
-Oh, no, sir!

What about this kind of brilliance,
for example? Who is the witty author?

Ah, Milsom again!
[chuckles softly] Naturally!

That eager, culture-hungry youth.

Well, Milsom,
suppose you now put into deathless prose,

the apology that seems to be due.

Well, er. Mademoiselle… Mademoiselle…

I'm sorry if…

No, no, no, no, no.
We'll have it in French.

Come on. Utter!


[in French] I…


[in French] I…

-Not bad, carry on.

[in French] I regret…


[in French] deeply.

Well, that's alright as far as it goes,
but if that's as far as it goes,

perhaps you'd better tell it
to the headmaster after school.

Oh, no, please, Mr. Crane.
Maybe they have not understood.

If there is a fault, it's also mine.

-[all disagree]
-[bell ringing]

I think that now they do understand,

and we shall all work very well together.

-Yes, Mademoiselle.
-[school bell ringing]

Ah! Saved by the bell!
Well, whatever you say, Mademoiselle.

After the break, I shall be hearing
you applying your outstanding talents

to the works of Chaucer and I warn you,
you won't find me so darned easy, either.

Come on, hop it!

-I do hope you didn't mind my butting in?
-Oh, no. It was kind.

I'm afraid I've made a, rather bad start.

No, you haven't. You'll be alright.

I bet from this moment, master Milsom
is one of your most devoted slaves.

You make me feel much better.
I wish I knew how to thank you.

Oh, you don't have to.

-Yes, you do. Do you play tennis?

Then what about a set after school
this evening?

Oh, I should like it.

-At what time?
-About 6:00.

The courts
are always pretty clear about then.

[tennis rackets hitting a ball]


Wasn't that out?

Oh, no, sir. Well in, sir.


-[boy] Out!

-Hard luck, sir.
-Are you sure? I thought it was in.

Oh, no, it was definitely out,

[boys agreeing]

Then what is that?

Game, set, match.

[loud cheering]

[soft bright music]

You know, I can't help
feeling a bit guilty about this.

Guilty? But why?

Having you all to myself.

Do you realize it's the first time
we've ever done anything

without being goggled at
by half the school?

[giggles softly]

Oh, I think the more they see of me,

the quicker they lose interest.

-[sighs softly]

I wouldn't like to bet on that.

[lighthearted music]

Well, come along, Milsom.
What's happening?

-[boys] Yes, what's happening?
-Well, nothing much, chaps.

At the moment, they're taking a breather.

Oh, wait a moment.
Now he's lying down with her.

No. No, he's sitting up again.

-Never mind him. What's she doing?
-[boys] Yes, come on. Come on.

Well, she's still stretched out.

I must say,
she looks in beautiful shape, lying there,

by the pool, with a…
with a shaft of sunlight playing on her.

Playing on her…

-Shoulder, thank you.

Here, what's happening now?
He's getting up.

Yes, he's getting up!

Now… now he's bending down,
I… I think they're going to…

Yes, they are! Now she's getting up!
This is terrific!

-I wish you could be here!
-I am here.

Those binoculars, Milsom.

These, sir?

What is so interesting?

Oh, just, nature, sir.

What particular aspect?

Just bird life, sir.

You're saying that, of course,
because you know that

my particular interest is ornithology.

Oh, no, sir.

Milsom, take your place.

And after school, write out 500 times:
"I must not tell lies."

-Yes, sir.
-[playful music]



[bright upbeat music]


Beatrice! What’s the matter?

My gladioli! They've gone!
There's not one left!

-Come on, Ginge. Get a move on!

We can't get them all in here.

Hey, wait a minute, there's one here.

Now, that’s the stuff!
Bring it here quickly!

This ought to be quite a surprise for her.

-Hope so.
-[door opens]

What the blazes
do you think you're doing here?

[Baines] Nothing, Edmonds.

-Where are all these flowers from?
-We picked them, Edmonds.

Er, in the wood, Edmonds.

You picked these in the…

Who gave you permission to be in here?

Well, no one.
But we thought Mademoiselle--

Now you take every one
of these flowers and get out.

And think yourselves lucky
I don't beat the lot of you!

And shut the door behind you!

[soft bright music with French accordion]

Ah, Edmonds! What can I do for you?

I'd like to see you, Mademoiselle.

Very well, but just take these flowers.

Some boys just gave them to me.
Wasn’t it charming of them?

-Now, let’s see.

These we can put somewhere else.

And what was it you wanted?

Extra French lessons, Mademoiselle.


I go up to Cambridge next term.

-I must be fluent.

But, I cannot make you fluent in one term.

No, but if I
came up here each evening, it…

it would be wonderful.

Edmonds. I think you are a designing boy.

Oh, no, Mademoiselle. You see,

after Cambridge,
my father wants me in his business,

the Paris branch.

[chuckles softly]

I am unfair to you.

At one moment, I thought
you wanted to be up here with me.


Good heavens,
whatever made you think that?


It's true, I did want to be here with you.

Now, Edmonds. You must not talk like this.

Do you know what I've done to be here now?

-What have you done?
-I've cut nets!

-Cut nets?
-Cricket nets.

Have you done much damage?

I'd do it every afternoon
if you wanted me to.

-But I don't!
-[knocks on door]

[in French] Come in.

Oh, hello, Edmonds.
What are you doing here?

He came to ask
if he can take extra French.

Ah, the 43rd applicant!

You're a bit late in the day.
Nobody gave a hoot about French

when Monsieur Fraguier was here,
including you, Edmonds.

-No extra French.
-How is that fair, sir?

Oh, and you have every man’s right
of appeal to the head if you wish.

Come on, hop it.

Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

-You ready?
-Two minutes.

If we're having dinner in Middlebourne,
you'd better get moving.

-I shall not be long.
-Come on.

[engine backfiring]

That's funny. Can’t understand it.
She's never done this before.

-Certainly not.

Did not you turn off the engine,
by mistake?

-No, look. It's still switched on.
-Or the petrol, perhaps?

Plenty of petrol, it's just not
getting through. She's starving.

Me too.

Oh, I say. I am sorry.

[chuckles softly]

Still, it's a wonderful evening, isn't it?


[inhales deeply]


Hey, where are you going?

To smell the honeysuckle.
Should not you look at the engine?

I'm just going to.

[lighthearted music]

You sound as if you thought
I’d done this on purpose.

[chuckles] We have a saying in France.

"Where the motor breaks down,
the grass will be long."

Well, you should be alright, then.
The grass here's quite short.

[giggles softly]

Anyway, I prefer haystacks.


[soft bright music]

Now look here!

If you imagine I arranged this breakdown.

That I brought you here
just in order to make love to you.

You're utterly, and completely, wrong.

[romantic music]

Now I know I was wrong.

Thank you, darling!

And now, please.
We should try to make it go.

-Ah, yes! The old girl!
-[chuckles softly]

Jump in.

But what have you done? I see nothing.

Just wait a minute.
She's never let me down yet.

Now wait for it.

-[engine starts]

[in French] There you go!

[bells chiming in the distance]

[owl hoots]

[whispering] Please
don't make a noise. It’s me, Edmonds!

No, don't put it on.
I'll get into frightful trouble!

Edmonds. What are you doing?

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you.

But I had to see you. Most important.

Go in there.

[tense music]

[door closes]

[soft bright music]

Edmonds. What is this?

I know it's awful, isn't it?
But, I just had to speak to you.

But you can speak to me in the morning.

-You must go back to bed.
-It's no use, I can't sleep.

I haven't for ages.

I've got such an awful ache, just here.

-And here, I can hardly breathe.

Are you eating properly, Edmonds?

I can't eat. I can't sleep. I can't think.

At least,
I can't think of anything but you.


[sighs softly]

Edmonds. Come and sit here for a moment.

Come on.

Now, Edmonds.

You want to be a good friend to me,
don’t you?

Oh, yes, I do!

As I wish to be a good friend to you.

But if you go on like this,
you will make a big scandal.

Suppose all the boy
came through my window in the night?

I’d jolly well teach them a lesson
if they did.

But who teaches a lesson to the head boy?

You see. You will make it impossible
for me to stay here.

-Oh, but you must!
-So you must be sensible.

Perhaps you think you are in love with me?

-I know I am.

I am too old for you,
and you are much too young for me.

When you will leave in a short while

you will see how difficult it is
to, remember how I look.

I shall always remember.


It's very sweet of you to say that,

but I promise it will be as I say.

So now will you please go back
before someone comes?

I suppose after this,
you'll, never let me see you again.

Yes, of course.

But it will be in the daytime and,

you will enter through that door.

Come on.

[slow horn music playing]

-What is it?
-I don't know.

Whatever it is,
they’re going to wake up the whole school!

I’m not putting up with this.

Hoy, you there!
Will you shut that blasted row?

You must go. Quickly!

[Hodges] Will you shut that row!

How can anyone sleep with that going on?

-It's alright, Mrs. Hodges.
-"Alright, Mrs. Hodges."

Very far from alright, if you ask me!

[Wigram] Look out, you chaps!

Stay here, you!


[Colin] Ah.

Edmonds! Brought your trumpet?

I just wanted to see
what was going on, sir.

By parachute you arrived, eh?

Alright, we'll discuss this
in the morning, Edmonds.

Yes, sir.


Strings, Mr. Slater. Who was the woodwind?

-I don't know, sir.
-Too dark, I suppose.

you can tell the rest of the ensemble,

there'll be a rehearsal
at 8:30 in the morning,

and I shall be wielding the baton.

Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

-Hurry up.
-[owl hoots]

In the circumstances, Head, no matter what
financial loss may be involved,

this young woman’s contract
should be terminated immediately.

You're surely not complaining
about her work?

The interest in French
has never been greater.

I’m complaining
about the school discipline.

-Well what about it?
-It’s going to pieces!

-Have you seen her on the tennis courts?

You must be the only male
for miles around who hasn't.

I'd no idea the Church frowned on tennis
as a pastime.

I am speaking now for myself,

but I cannot imagine the Church approving
a young, fully-developed woman

leaping about before 300 boys,

in what appear to be
little more than her underwear.

The margin between decency
and, disclosure was hardly measurable.

Edwin. The days
when women wore ankle-length skirts--

And the swimming pool! Her costume!

Few abbreviated strings,
deliberately contrived

to cover as little as possible.

Are we still
on the question of discipline?

Indeed we are!

As my sister has pointed out,

if we allow our boys' feelings
to be inflamed in this way,

no woman on the premises will feel safe.

Oh, I think Beatrice will be alright.

I mean, she can look after herself.

Course, I appreciate that your position
is a delicate one.

Delicate? In what way?

Your own son's interest
has not passed unobserved.

Perhaps not.
But is that any business of yours?

Or mine for that matter?

When it becomes the source of ribald,

and objectionable comment
on the part of the boys,

-I should have thought--
-Dammit, Edwin!

What's wrong with a young boy

enjoying the companionship
of an attractive young girl?

To my possibly diseased mind,

it seems not only healthy
but even desirable.

Very well, Head.

I hope you'll believe that my concern
is as much for you as for the school.

After all, you brought the girl here.
The governors were not consulted,

nor, for that matter, was anyone else.

The responsibility
is therefore entirely yours.

But when the crisis develops,

I should have liked to have been able
to give you my support.

-Look, Edwin.

I’ll speak to the girl about her dress.
I’m sure she’ll understand.

But we must remember
she's only been here a few weeks.

We must give the experiment a chance.

Your decision, Head.

What did he say?

Seems almost as infatuated as his son.

Hah. That doesn’t surprise me
in the least.

No one wishes to be uncharitable,

but one reads in the newspapers everyday
about men of a certain age and their…


Beatrice, you seem to forget,
the head and I are almost the same age.

But he's a widower.

And when one remembers
how deceitful he’s been.

Calling her madame Lafarge,

giving the impression
of a much older woman,

and then his suggestion
that she was experienced with boys!

[chuckles] Perhaps she is.

Edwin, you know what I mean.

I know that he intends to hold on to her.

Wouldn’t surprise me in the least

to find that all these
impressive qualifications of hers,

are nothing but camouflage.

They could be checked.

Then I think you should waste no time.

I could write to Professor Bonnard.

I wanted to tell him
about the redstarts having nested.

I could, ah, bring it in casually.

[school bell ringing]

[indistinct chatter]

Oh, Mademoiselle Lafarge.

I wonder. Can you spare me a minute?

Yes, of course.

-Will you come in?
-Thank you.

-Please, sit down.
-Thank you.

It's really that I just wanted to know
how you were getting on.

You are very kind. I'm quite happy.

I hope that now you feel
I am good for the boys?

Oh, yes, yes, indeed.

It's just a question of clothes.

-And, erm, tennis.

Tennis, Monsieur?

Well it…
It's really largely a matter of length.

Well, I do hope
you don't mind my saying this to you.

But I've always thought it better
to be absolutely frank.

It's not that I’m old-fashioned.
But, the fact is that,

there are some people
here who are. So, er,

well, i… if you could manage to, um…

drop them a little,

it would prevent the boys
from getting, er, overheated.

To drop what, Monsieur?

Well, to drop your, er, your…

-I wonder if I could have a match?
-Of course.

-Oh, you can find one there.
-Oh, thank you.

Good heavens!

-Who’s this?
-This is my mother,

when she was a baby
and when she was a school­girl.

No, no, this one.

That is also my mother as a young woman.
And here she is now.

Well, I can hardly believe it.
Tell me. Her name is Claudine?

-Why, yes! How did you know it?
-But I knew her.

-That is impossible.
-But I knew her well.

Don't you remember, I told you,
Martin and I used to go climbing there.

Your mother often used to come with us.

This is…
This was taken on one of those trips.

This is the guide's hut
halfway up Mont D'Or, isn’t that right?

That's right.

Oh. So this is how she looks now.

I'd have recognized her anywhere.

-She has a few grey hairs now.
-Yes, she's still very beautiful.

You know, Martin and I used to,

used to quarrel
as to who would carry her rucksack.

Oh, what days those were.

Up with the dawn. Walking and climbing.

After we'd eaten,
sometimes Claudine used to sing to us.

She had a lovely voice.

[chuckles softly] Anyway, I thought so.

At dusk, we'd wait
until the lights came on in the village,

and then we'd go down.

Oh dear, what a long time ago it seems.

Almost 25 years.

Now I understand why she was so anxious
for me to answer the advertisement.

Was she really?

Perhaps when she saw your name.

I always felt
there was some special reason.

And now I learn it's you and Mr. Martin.

Oh, I don't think Martin
had very much to do with it.

After all, as far as I remember,
he only carried the rucksack once.


Wait till he hears about this.
I must go and tell him.

I must tell my mother too.
I will write to her.

Oh, do. And please give her my, regards.

-Of course.

Oh, by the way.

You might also ask her why
she never replied to any of my letters.

-Oh, yes, I will.
-Good. [chuckles]

Oh, and Mademoiselle,

thank you for being so understanding
about the tennis things.

Oh, and there's the swimsuit too.

I knew you wouldn't mind my mentioning it.

-[in French] Good bye, Mademoiselle.
-[in French] Good bye, Monsieur.

[soft French accordion music]


-I've got a surprise for you.

-Remember Claudine?


Oh, yes, Claudine,
shall I ever forget her? What about her?

We have her daughter with us.

Oh, not another French mistress.

-No, no. The same one.

Don't you see now? Same eyes.

-Same smile.


She's exactly like her.

Quite a rat-a-tat-tat from the past.

Rather more for you than me, perhaps. If I
remember rightly, you were a bit smitten.

I don't mind admitting now
I was, very much in love with her.

Not that it got you very far.

Well. [chuckles] I don't know.

Well, would you believe it?

-When was it now, 1934?

Twenty-five years ago.

Yes. Nearly 25 years ago.

Twenty-five years…
Wait a minute! Don't move!

-[knocks on door]
-[in French] Come in!

Oh, Mademoiselle, forgive me
but what age did you say you were?

-[dramatic music]
-Twenty-four, Monsieur.

That's what I thought you said,
thank you. Excuse me.

-Bob. This is dreadful!
-What’s the matter?

Now look.
I… I’ve never told you this before,

but you remember the time that
you were laid up with a twisted ankle?


And Claudine and I had a shot
at the east face of Mont d’Or?

-But you must remember.

The mist came down,
we were half way up.

We had to spend the night together
in a disused hut.

Yes, that's right.
We left the following morning.

It was the last time
we were there, wasn’t it?

-Twenty-five years ago.

Well, don’t you see?

She’s 24.

Now, wait a minute!
You can't jump to conclusions

just because she's 24.

Yes, but I've got to know, Bob.
I’ve got to be sure.

It's quite simple.
Ask her about her father.

I don't think I could.

But, I've…
I've got a horrible feeling in my bones--

Don't panic. It's quite alright.
Leave it to me.

A few discreet questions
put with my customary tact,

will soon put your mind at rest.

In any case,
you've got nothing to worry about.

She can't possibly be a relative of yours.

Really? Why not?

Well, my dear fellow,
she’s far too good-looking!


[dramatic music]

[animal calling softly]

-[Colin] Madeleine.
-[Madeleine] Yes?

[Colin] If anyone had said to me
that I'd be sitting here now,

in the middle of this wood
with a beautiful girl in my arms…

[Madeline chuckles]

Would you have believed it?

-I have always believed it.
-Believed what?

That one day I would wake up,

and the sun
would be a little more, brighter.

The birds would be singing
a little more sweetly,

and the sky would be a deep, deep blue.

I would be in love.

Ah, darling!

Do close up there!

If you wish to hear my observations,
I'm not going to shout.

Now, we must all move
as quietly as we can,

and keep our eyes open.

At this time of year, you can come across
the most exciting activities.

-[lighthearted music]
-[animal gently calling]

-Only one thing.
-What's that?

Your father.

Perhaps he will be angry.

He'll be deliriously happy.

-Why not?

The thought of you as a relation,
a daughter-in-law.

[chuckles softly]

No, but… You must be serious.

I am, very.

[branches cracking]

[Rev. Peake] Shh.

Don't move.

There. Hear that?
That's the wood pigeon calling.

They're nesting now.

If you look carefully,
you'll very likely see one.

Ah, yes! You see it?

Quite low down.

A loosely constructed platform of twigs.

-Yes, sir. Very.

Very different from the game birds
who are usually found on the ground.

This sort of thing, for example,
is the typical habitat of the woodcock.

-Good afternoon.
-Lovely day.

Well, don't stand there gaping!
Move along!

Oh Lord!

I can just imagine what the text
of next Sunday's sermon will be.

Come on.

[uplifting music]

You paralyzed or something, Edmonds?


Sorry, sir.

Alright, Middleton.
Keep pegging away at his leg stump.

And keep your eye on the ball this time!

[Mr. Martin] Hey! You two!

Colin, don't you think
you're being rather a greedy boy?

Me, greedy?

Monopolizing the only pretty girl
that Melbury's seen for 100 years.

-You jealous?
-Well, I am rather.

Why don't you buzz off
and give me a chance?

Why don’t you go back to your job
at the nets?

Well, I,
rather wanted a word with Madeleine.


Well, I rather resent it. It's rather
a poor exchange for Madeleine,

but out of respect for your advanced age,
see you later.

Thank you, my son.


And what was it you wanted to say,
Monsieur Martin?

Say? Nothing, really.

I was just wondering
how you were getting on.

Thank you. I'm very well.

-Quite happy?
-Oh, yes, I'm very happy.

Splendid! And your mother? Is she happy?

Yes, my mother is also very happy.

And your father? I expect he's happy too.

Oh, I cannot say. Perhaps.

Oh, you mean he doesn't approve
of your being here?

-Well then?


I must tell you something very private.

-I have never known my father.
-Oh, I'm sorry.

Er, you mean, he left your mother?

-When you were quite young?

-No, before I was born.

Oh, dear.
I mean, what a terrible business!

Where is he now? In Paris?

We have never heard from him. Never.

[bells chiming]

-But what is wrong?

I mean, nothing! Nothing at all!
I mean, I've just remembered…

It's getting very late.
Will you excuse me?

-Of course.

[frantic up-tempo music]


I've been looking for you
all over the place.

-What is it?
-I've seen her.


I don't know whether to congratulate you
or commiserate with you.

What do you mean?

They haven't even heard from her father
since before she was born.

Oh dear.

I can only hope your daughter
settles down here.

[bright uplifting music]

-[Rev. Peake] Edmonds.

-Not eating?
-Not very hungry, sir.

What is the, er,

the book, boy!

You'll find sausages
a better start to the day, Edmonds.

Yes, sir.

But Madeleine, you're not eating anything.

Thank you, but, I am not very hungry
this morning.

Oh, but you must eat.

Let's see
if we can find you something different.

Oh, no, please. It doesn't matter.

Everybody seems to have lost
their appetites today.

-Mrs. Hodges.

Mrs. Hodges, I wonder if we could find
something else for Mademoiselle?

Why? What's wrong with it?

Oh, there's nothing wrong with it.

It's just I expect being used
to the continental breakfast--

-Meaning snails, I suppose.
-Well of course she wouldn't want that.

Oh, yes, she would! I've seen them at it.

Frogs legs and snails.
Disgusting habit, I call it!

She's not getting anything like that here!

And if the headmaster wants it,
he can take my notice.

Go out in the garden.
Catch them for her himself.

This can't go on much longer.

What, dear?

Mademoiselle Lafarge.

Oh. What's she been doing now?

I hate to think!

But whatever it is,
the effect is alarming.

Not enough for the headmaster's son
to be making a fool of himself.

Now we have Edmonds,
refusing food and reading erotic poetry.

On top of that, staff sergeant Hodges is
threatening to give notice on her account.

Hodges' cooking may be lethal, but she'll
be extremely difficult to replace.

Apropos the girl,
we've had a reply from Bonnard.

We have? Well?

The qualifications apparently are genuine.

[disappointed] Oh.

As to the parents,
the professor is strangely reticent.

Father is a completely unknown
quantity. No one has ever seen him.

Seems the girl's education was paid for
by an uncle in Paris.

Uncle! Well we all know what that means.

And as far as the mother goes,

he does admit that she keeps
what he calls a guesthouse.

That may well be a euphemism
for something far less savory.

I wonder if she was running it then?


When the head and Martin
went on their mountaineering jaunts.

You think perhaps they may have, called?

-That would explain a lot.
-It would explain everything!

There's not a moment to be lost.

The governors clearly have to be informed.

[school bell ringing]

[boy] I'm gonna get some food,
I'll see you in a minute, alright?

Stop! Stop it.
What on earth do you think you're doing?

Well, I suppose,
making love to Madeleine.

You can't. You mustn't.

I'm sorry. It was wrong of us
during the school time.

It would be wrong at any time.

You must both understand
that this can't go on!

Look, Father, it was my fault.
You're quite right.

It shouldn't have happened here.

But you may as well know
that Madeleine and I--

Oh, stop it, I say!

It's utterly impossible.

-Quite out of the question.
-Now wait a minute, Father--

Colin, I can't talk to you here.
Please come over to the house.

Mademoiselle Lafarge,

I must ask you to come to my study
in ten minutes' time.

Something has happened.

He looks very unhappy.

Oh, don't worry. It'll soon blow over.

-Yeah, coming, Father.

[dramatic cantankerous music]

Out of my way, boys!

-I want a word with you, Mr. Crane.
-Not now, Mrs. Hodges.

Yes, but if you think I'm getting
special French food for this person--

Later, Mrs. Hodges, much later.

That'll be never, I suppose.

Shut the door.

Well. Do I bend over?

Or is it to be Mr. Barrett
of Wimpole Street?


Father, what's all this fuss about?
Nothing terrible has happened.

She's not my mistress!

Thank heaven for that.

Madeleine and I love each other,
we're going to get married.

-But that's just it. You can't.
-Why ever not?

Because it's, positively, illegal!

Illegal? Are you feeling alright?

No… I mean… Yes. I'm just telling you.

But Father, you can't tell us.
We're both of age.

-Queen Victoria's gone!
-That's all beside the point.

Then would you be good enough
to come to the point?

I'm trying to. Sit down.

Please, sit down.

Now. Look, Colin.

Before I met your mother.

Er, that is, er,

-before you were born…

-I was halfway up a mountain…
-Mountain or a wall?

[sighs] Colin, please!

-Where was I?
-Halfway up a mountain.

Yes. I had a companion.

-Bob Martin.
-No, no, he'd sprained an ankle.

Why he wanted to do it
at that moment, I can't imagine.

-Who was it?
-Madeleine's mother?


Huh! You were halfway up a mountain
with Madeleine’s mother.

Please stop prompting me!

A mist came down.

-We were stranded.
-I still don't see…

You will when the mist clears!

Well, we…
we had to spend the night together,

-alone, in a guide's hut.

Colin. We were very much in love.

Is that so very wrong?

Yes, it is.

If, as a consequence, you find yourself…

doing something…

Here, wait a minute!
What are you trying to tell me?

That Madeleine…
is my daughter and your sister.

-No! It's not true!
-I wish it weren't!

It can't be! I love her!

It can be, and you mustn't!

Well, w… why in heaven's name
did you let her come here?

I didn't know.

Didn't know! Your own daughter?

What kind of a father are you?
What kind of a man are you?

-You have every right to feel upset.

You start by… by…

by seducing a young innocent girl
in a mist on a mountain.

You ruin her life, my life,
three people's lives! Upset!

Colin, you may not believe it,

but I have done
a certain amount of suffering myself.

Good! You deserve it!
You've behaved like an absolute monster.

Only wish I never had to see you again!

[dramatic music]


-Is everything alright?

Everything couldn’t be more wrong.

We must never be alone together again!


Mademoiselle Lafarge.
Will you please come in here?

-Well please sit down.
-Thank you.

Well this is going to be
extremely difficult to say,

but I really feel that it would be
for the best if you were to leave.


I am sorry.

-I've not given satisfaction?
-Oh, you mustn't think that.

On the contrary.

But perhaps it would be better
for everyone.

-Meaning your son?
-Meaning the school.

Listen, my dear.
You mustn't think that I am against you.

I feel for you very deeply.
Please believe that.

In the short time that you've been here,
I've learned to respect you,

and all that I know about you,
has made me love you.

-Love me?

I think I can say that
without exaggerating.

But, you are old enough to be my father!

Dammit, I am! I mean,

I love you like a father.


This is so horrible! I see it now.

-You want me for yourself!

So you tell your son
to keep off the grass!

-The grass? Mademoiselle Lafarge!
-No, don't touch me!

But I, only want to protect you.

Yes, like a, sugar daddy!

Please, Mademoiselle. Listen to me.

Leave me alone! Don’t come near me!

Please stop him!

He wants me for himself!

Really, Mr. Crane!
Can't you leave the poor lamb alone?

The poor lamb, I mean,
Mademoiselle Lafarge will be leaving.

Well, I don't blame her. You poor dear.

Come along with me.

-Cannot believe it!
-Oh my dear,

you couldn't believe anything about men.

-[Madeline gasps]

I’ve had about all the complaints
I'm going to take.

I mean, you don't expect
to get appreciated in the Army,

like the Chief Instructor always said,
God rest him.

But he said you'll find it very different
in civvy street, he said.

Different! It's complaints from the boys,
complaints from the governors,

and complaints from this new French piece!

And then what?
A list of calorilies and protines,

with more figures on it
than a bill from the gas works.

They want a more varied diet they say.

Mrs. Hodges, this is not the moment.

It may not be your moment, but it's mine.

So you can take my notice
'cause I'm going!

Very well, Mrs. Hodges. Go!

What did you say?



[sobbing] After all these years.

After 15 years!

Morning, noon and night,
working my fingers to the bone,

and then told to go!

But my dear Mrs. Hodges,
I thought that's the way you wanted it!

-Mr. Crane!

Wanted what?


How could he do it to me?

I dunno what's come over him!

Nor do I.

[sobbing loudly]

Hello, Edmonds.

-Still the same?
-Yes, Matron.

-No headache?

No pains?

No swelling anywhere?

Come on, sit up.
Let's have a look at your back.

No rash.

No, nothing at all.

-[sighs] But you still feel sick?

It's four days since you started this.

Still no temperature.

Alright, Edmonds. Keep warm.

Well, I can find absolutely
nothing wrong with him.

How about his bowels?
That's usually the trouble.

Well, it isn't in this case.

-Then what is it?
-I think it's his heart.

Heart at his age?

Oh, it isn't only the old who suffer,
is it, Colin?

What the devil are you getting at?

I think he’s in love.

Oh, don't be so damn silly.

Anyway, we're playing Longdown next week.
He can't just lie there in bed.

Over to you, Matron.

I think we'll have to give him
a little longer.

And Matron.

Don't forget my advice. A good purge.

-Never fails.
-You try it yourself.

Are you going to tell the old man
about this?

No, I'm not. You can damn well tell him.

I don't know what's come over this place.

The head boy won't get out of bed.

Our games master won't be civil to anyone.

The French mistress won't stop crying.

And if matron's to be believed,

the headmaster's suddenly
turned into a sex maniac.

[lighthearted music]

Oh Lord!

-Morning John.
-Morning Bob.

I have to report that Master Edmonds
still refuses to get up,

and that matron still can't find out
what's the matter with him.

-Well, what does she think it is?

-Our French mistress.

It only needed that. His father's
coming down here this morning.

Colonel Edmonds has called an emergency
meeting of the governors for 12 noon.

-What's cooking?
-Can't you guess?

Somebody's stirring the pot, eh?
Well, what do we do?

Well, we can’t wait till Thursday now.

We’ve got to get her out of here
at once before they arrive.

-We might get her on the 11:40.
-We must.

See to it, Bob, will you,
before school starts.

The governors have got to find
the whole place working like clockwork.

Alright. Leave it to me.

[soft bright music]


See the car's at School House
at eleven o'clock this morning, will you?

-To go to the station.
-Yes, sir. Who's it for?

Mademoiselle Lafarge. She's leaving today.

Very good, sir.

Now, Vane. What was it?

Oh, key for the physics lab, please.

-Here you are.
-Thank you.

[bright up-tempo music]

-I say, you fellows. She's going!
-Who's going?

Mademoiselle Lafarge!

What the devil are you talking about,
you smelly little tick?

I heard Bow-wow ordering the car.

-They're throwing her out this morning.

You know the head
better than I do, Colonel.

Has anything like this
ever happened before?

Certainly not!

No member of the staff
makes a fool of himself twice

while I'm chairman of the governors.
It's bad for discipline.

Always found Crane to be
a straightforward enough fellow but,

by heavens, if he’s let us down…

Well. if anyone's interested,
Colonel Edmonds

has called an emergency meeting
of the governors for midday.

-[Mr. Martin] Surprised?

-Not exactly.
-I didn't think you would be.

I wonder what this emergency could be?

I imagine it could be
the position of Mademoiselle Lafarge.

She hasn't got one.

-What do you mean?
-Not after eleven o'clock. She's leaving.

-[school bell ringing]
-Enjoy yourself.

["La Marseillaise"
playing in the distance]


Lost something?

Only 27 rather unattractive little boys.

My collection of stinkers
hasn't shown up yet either.

-What goes on?
-Well, they must be somewhere.

I suppose we must go and look for them.

Quite extraordinary.
They were all here at breakfast time.

[Rev. Peake] One moment.

May I enquire what's happening?

I'm not at all sure that we can help you.

The school doesn't seem to be
displaying its customary thirst

for knowledge this morning,
for some reason or another.

Hmm. Unfortunate that the governors
should happen to be--

[metallic clanking]

[Rev. Peake] Come here, boy.

Why aren't you in class?

-There are no classes, sir.
-What's that?

We're all out, sir.

-On strike, sir.

Oh, really?

And could you give us all some indication

as to when we may expect once more
to be honored with your presence?

-Well, sir. Depends…
-[Rev. Peake] On what?

-The shop stewards, sir.
-Shop stewards?

Yes, sir.
They're meeting in the gym now, sir.

Are they?

Well, we'll see about that!

Oh, you won't get in.
It's behind locked doors. Sir.

[loud shouting]

Quiet, quiet, quiet!

Alright. All in favor?

[all exclaiming]

Anybody against?


Well, I'm not exactly against but,

don't you think we're being
rather unconstitutional?

[all shouting]

Alright! Alright!

Carried unanimously. Good!

You all know what to do.

[in French] She shall not pass!


[melancholy music]

-Have you got everything?
-Only these.

The rest is downstairs.

Goodbye, my dear.

I don't know
what I'm going to do without you.

You have been so sweet to me. So kind.

-Such a good friend.
-And you will write, won't you?

Oh, yes. Sure I will.

I'm being absolutely sloppy. [sniffs]

I'll take these down for you.

-Goodbye, my dear.


I'm going.

-Goodbye, Madeleine.

Colin. Have you nothing else to say to me?

I don't think so.

You told me you loved me
and since that day,

you have not spoken to me.

I know now why.

-But I don't understand you.
-What is there to understand?

Why you are not man enough
to stand up for your own feelings,

instead of saying, "Father is right."

-"His feelings must come first."
-In this case, he is right.

Right? What right has he
to want me for himself?

-What right has he to say he loves me?


You've got it all wrong.
He means like a daughter.

Oh, yes. [chuckles]

I have heard that excuse
from nasty old men before.

Look, I promise you,
he loves you as a father.

And it's because he loves you as a father,

that I must love you, as a brother.


-What is this madness?

Because he loves me as a father,
you must love me as a brother.

[scoffs] I suppose
if he loves me as an Arab,

you must love me as a camel.

-[sighs] I can't explain.
-Nobody can!

It's just impossible
to understand you English!

Look, I just can't love you
as a man should and remain here.

Where would you have to go?

I don't know.
I think it’s Wormwood Scrubs.

[exhales] Is it very far? Please, Colin,
could we not go there together?

It’s a prison.
I have no intention of going there!

-[melancholy music]

I shall always love you,


You make me very happy.

Goodbye. Brother.

[knocks on door]

Come in.

Oh, Matron. Has she gone?

She's leaving any moment now.

Oh, yes. Yes, I see.

Well, perhaps it's all for the best.
Come in, sit down.

I'm not staying, Headmaster.

I just wanted to say I think you've
treated that poor child shamefully.


She's told me about, you know what.

-I don't know what.
-About your, desires.


You frightened that poor girl
with your advances.

But, Matron, I made no advances.

Headmaster, please! Control yourself.

-Am I going off my head?
-That may be it.

I know middle-aged men
do go through a phase.

Matron, I can assure you--

Stay where you are, please. I'm the only
woman here now and I don't feel safe.

Don't talk rubbish! Of course you're safe.

You're absolutely safe.

Well, you needn’t be rude about it.

After all, if Mrs. Hodges
has to complain about your behavior.

Are you suggesting that I made
improper advances to Mrs. Hodges?

I'm sorry if I've come in
at the wrong moment,

but the balloon appears to have gone up.
The school's on strike.

-What on earth are you talking about?
-Perhaps this gentleman can explain.

He says he's come to give you the bird.

So, you've come to give me the bird?

-Yes, sir. A robin, sir.
-Let me have it.

A round robin to be exact.
Shall I read it?

Yes, if our friend has no objection.

-Oh, no, sir.
-Thank you.

Reading between the blots,
it's from the Shop Stewards' Committee

for the Defense of Anglo-French Relations,
Lower School Branch.

"Be it understood that if
Mademoiselle Lafarge leaves the school,

we the undersigned will not,
a) attend classes, b) attend games,

c) attend meals,
d) attend chapel, or e) go to bed.

Furthermore, this establishment
will be destroyed by fire.

Yours sincerely."

"Yours sincerely." It's a nice touch.

-Well, let me tell you, Mr.…
-Vane, sir.

Mr. Vane, yes.
Your committee is wasting its time.

-Mademoiselle Lafarge has already left.
-Oh, but she hasn't, sir.


Afraid not, Head. Come and look here.

["La Marseillaise" playing]

This is absolutely outrageous!

-Who did it?
-We did, sir.

You did.

Now you propose to burn down the school?

Yes, sir. They're building a fire
in the gym now, sir.

Oh, the mattresses and the wooden benches
will make an excellent blaze, eh?

Oh, yes, sir.

Maybe a tin of petrol from my garage?

They thought of that, sir.
They took two tins.

Matron, Bob.

When I kill this boy,

you are witnesses to the fact,

that I was provoked beyond endurance.
Get out!

-Missed him!
-[knocks on door]

[barks] Come in!

Morning Crane, Martin, Matron.

-Now, what's all this nonsense about?
-Which, Colonel?

What's all this about my boy?

-Is he up yet?
-I'm afraid not, Colonel.

-Why not?
-Matron fears that he may be sickening--

Oh, balderdash!

Flog him!

Well, it's hardly a case for corporal
punishment. There are complications.

-What do you mean, his lungs?
-No, no. His heart.

Heart? Never had a heart in the family!

Boy's dodging the column.

Tip the bed over!

I mean, he's in love.

Love? Poppycock!

But you must remember that he's nearly 18.

It calls for a certain amount of tact.

Tact? I’ve got plenty of tact.

Do you imagine I'm going to throw
a hand grenade under the bed?

Who is the woman? You, Matron?

Colonel Edmonds!

No, no.

As a matter of fact, it actually started

when I was obliged to take a mistress.

A mistress?

A French mistress.

Alright, Crane. I'm not narrow-­minded.

She teaches the boys.


A woman? On the staff?


Then why on earth wasn't I consulted?

But you… you were away.
It was just an experiment.

You must be out of your mind.

Intro­ducing a demimondaine
into an English public school!

Why not a few models from Montparnasse
for the drawing class?

That'd keep all the boys in bed!

but she's highly respectable, Colonel.

It's easy to see she's pulled
the crepe de chine over your eyes.

You've been buried here too long, Crane!

Better leave this to me.
I'm a man of the world.

The sight of one of my checks
will soon send madame packing.

She's not that type at all.

Nonsense. I know the type.

I never trusted the French since

they failed to relieve
my left flank at Cambrai.

Right, let's get on with it. March her in.

would you please tell Mademoiselle,

that the chairman wishes to see her?

Very well.

Well, Martin. What's your opinion?


Absolutely adorable.

Might have known.

Of course,
I shouldn't have asked you, Martin.

You always were a damn rascal.

You may be in for a bit of a shock,

Me, shocked?

You can't teach me anything about women!

You've never been a subaltern
up in the hill station during the rains.

Of course, she's twisted all of you
round her little finger.


Mademoiselle Lafarge
is not a femme fatale.

Well then what's she done to my boy?

Of course she's heard I've got money.

Hoping to feather her nest. Some hope!

Has it occurred to you, Colonel,

that your son may have become infatuated
without any encouragement?

Listen, Martin.

Your mouth doesn't water for a peach,

unless the fruit is displayed
in an attractive manner.

She's brazen!

Flaunted herself
in front of an impressionable lad.

And it's you, Crane,
who must be held responsible.

It's you who introduced
this… this wanton into the school,

and the governors'll want to know why!

I will willingly resign now.

Well, you can't.
Not till after our meeting.

-But first I'm going to deal
-[door opens]

with this madame Pompadour,

and make sure she stops pestering my boy.

[clears throat] Colonel.

-This is Mademoiselle Lafarge.
-Ah! Now listen to me--

[bright music]


My dear.

You wanted me, Colonel?

Why, yes.

I just wanted to say…

I do hope my boy
hasn't been pestering you?

Oh, no. He's charming.

-You are his father.

-I can see it now.
-You can?

-And of course, you're French, aren't you?
-Yes, Monsieur.

Thought so.

Now tell me, what has this
young devil of mine been up to, eh?

Nothing. Except he was anxious for me
to give him extra lessons.

I bet he was.

He said he will go
into your business in Paris.

Business? Soldiering's my business.

I've often been to Paris
but not on business.


[clears throat]

Yes, well, now, Now tell me, um,

I… I… I suppose he wanted to, er…

I mean, did he try to, er…

Really, Colonel!

Young blackguard!

I expect the colonel
was just the same at his age.

At his age, the only female
to interest me was a bay mare.

Hunted her twice a week.

Only girl I knew was an oversized cousin.

Oh dear, poor thing broke her leg.
Had to shoot her.

Shoot her?

[Mr. Martin] I think the colonel
means his mare.

Oh. Oh, yes! Good! Huh. Sense of humor.

Right. Now, orders for the day.

Now the first thing is to get
that damn malingerer on his feet.

He's going to apologize to you, my dear.

-Head, Matron.

Before you leave this room,
I think you ought to know that

the whole school is, on strike.

Strike? Mutiny, eh?

Well, lucky you've got
a soldier on the spot.

Well, er,
let's court-martial the ringleader first,

and deal with the rank and file later.

Alright, fall in. Follow me.

[upbeat marching music]


They're ominously quiet. Find out
what the boys are doing and break it up.


Didn't the colonel
call this meeting for midday?

He's on a tour of inspection now.

Shouldn't take him long
to size up the situation.

I wish he'd left us out of this.

In the end, he will anyway,
whether we're here or not.

Colonel. You will remember,
won't you, that the boy--

I know! I know!

Tact! Come along, Matron.

[colonel] What the devil
d'you think you're doing?

Get out of bed! Disgracing yourself!
Disgracing the family!

-And insulting a charming lady!
-Father, I still feel awful.

But there's nothing wrong with you!

Now jump to it!
Come along. Marching orders!

Dressing gown! Slippers!

Right! Quick, march!

[upbeat marching music]

Come along!

Defaulter reporting to apologize.
Come on, man! Spit it out!

But Colonel,
he has nothing to apologize for.

How do you feel now, Edmonds?

-Bunkum! Get on with it!

I'm sorry if… if I annoyed you by my…


But, he really is ill.
Look at all these spots!

Spots? Where?


Good heavens! It's chicken pox!

-He's got a high fever!
-There's nothing wrong with me.

[bright uplifting music]

Sorry to keep you waiting.

Had to make a racket myself.
Alright, Peake.

Should you require me, Colonel,
I shall be in my--

Yes, yes, we know where to get you.

Now then.

[tense contemplative music]

[humming "La Marseillaise"]


[loud shouting, booing]

Quiet! Quiet, all of you!

Now, you young blighters,
where do you think you're off to?

Deputation to the governors, sir.

Well, you're not going any further.

-Make way, Bow-wow!


People who bark at Bow-wows, Wigram,
are liable to get bitten.

Bend over!

A little room, please, gentlemen.

I die for France!

[shouting, booing]

Now. I need hardly remind you, gentlemen,

this is a public school. Your parents
aren't likely to sue us for assault.

Are there any more customers?


Well, I wanted to see her and size her up
before making any recommendations.

Now, I have no hesitation
in confirming the appointment.

-Anyone anything to say?
-[boys shouting outside]

Well, Colonel, I… after all…
it's a… it’s a woman.

Well, exactly.
We've got 'em in Parliament,

got 'em in medicine,
got 'em in the law courts.

Why not here?

No use being stick in the mud, you know,
you've got to move with the times.

She's lively, intelligent, and healthy.

Be a great asset.
I think Crane's to be congratulated.

Yes, but Peake tells us that the
present uproar was entirely due to her.

Och. It's just youthful high spirits.
They feel there's been an injustice.

And thank heavens there still are
young Britons who'll stand up

for what they believe to be right.

Wouldn't surprise me if this fellow Peake

hadn't helped stir up some of it himself.

I never did trust him.
He's got a sly look.

And that pussycat of a sister
riding round on her broom handle.

Well, what do you say? We can't
sit around here all day, you know.

Well, whatever you say,
I suppose, Colonel.

Oh, I… I entirely agree.

Right! Carried unanimously!

The appointment stands.

I want to tell you how grateful I am for
the wonderful way you handled the colonel.

-Ha, but I did nothing.
-Oh, yes, you did.

You saved the day for me.

Then, perhaps the colonel
will let me stay now?

Well, that’s quite a different matter.

I shall have to explain
to the colonel why, that's impossible.

But you don't explain to me!

Yes. I suppose I should, shouldn't I?

Come along, then.

[tense dramatic music]

[headmaster] It's something
I should have told you the other day.

I had half a mind to,
and then, thought better of it.

So, it was true!

At least you might have taken her
to the potting shed!

Colin, be quiet, and sit down.

No, no. Over there.

I was just trying to explain
to Mademoiselle Lafarge

that the only obstacle to marriage
between the two of you, is her age.

-Because I am older than him?
-Oh, no, my dear.

Not because you're older.

It's because you… you're the age you are.

But what is this age
that prevents people from being in love?

In this case, 24.

If only you were 25,

or 23.

-And how is 22?
-Oh, what's the use!

If I was to tell you, I am only 22,

then it makes everything alright?

It would be wonderful.

[chuckles softly]

Then, I am 22.

But you're 24. You told me so yourself.

Oh, I am 22. I, told a lie.

When I first arrived, you made me feel
I was too young for the job,

so when you suddenly come and ask me,

I am afraid and…

[bright dramatic music]

Madeleine, darling!

Wait a minute! I must have proof.

Oh. My passport, Monsieur.

It's true.

-It's true!


Well, it seems that I'm getting you
as a daughter after all.

-[cheering in distance]
-[bell ringing]

Listen. The alarm bell.

-What on earth has happened now?

Colin, quickly!

-Bob! What is it?
-They've set fire to the gym!

[boys humming "La Marseillaise "loudly]


[bright romantic music]

-But Colin, you must go.
-It's nothing.

It's only the school burning down.

["Madeleine" playing]