Reviews for The Happiest Days of Your Life ( 1950 ) 1080p

Two schools for the price of one

By: TheLittleSongbird
Had heard a lot of great things about 'The Happiest Days of Your Life' from family friends and trusted critic reviews. The idea, of an all-boys and all-girls uniting as one, sounded like it would be really entertaining and having two acting greats in Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford (both joys to watch in pretty much everything they're in, have seldom known them to be any less than bright spots) in the same film proved very difficult to resist.

Watching it, 'The Happiest Days of Your Life' proved to be every bit as great as hoped and more. Actually one of the best and funniest films seen recently (school culture and life has seldom being more observantly, slyly, charmingly or hilariously depicted), and as over the top as it sounds to some that is not an exaggeration. Of my recent viewings, there has been a mix of brilliant, great, very good, good, decent, average, mediocre and terrible (so basically hit and miss), 'The Happiest Days of Your Life' really stood out and in a brilliant way. It deserves every ounce of the praise given to it, yet to me it is actually deserving to be given more credit and exposure.

Both Sim and Rutherford are on top form, with comic timing so expertly and knowing that most would only wish of having. Rutherford especially is superb and shares a dream of a chemistry with Sim, as they bounce off each other in a way that is never less than edge-of-the-seat riveting. They and their chemistry are what makes this film and one does wish that they were in more films together. That does not mean that the rest of the cast should be overlooked, because Joyce Grenfell is particularly splendidly dotty and the support from Guy Middleton and Richard Wattis sparkles.

Also sparkling is one of the wittiest, most beautifully structured and funniest scripts in the history of British comedy from personal opinion, one chock-full of sophistication and hilarious lines that the laughter is practically non-stop and not once does it feel stale or lose momentum. On top of being that entertaining, the increasingly frenetic antics never become confusing or overplayed, things may get a little chaotic at the end but that was clearly the intent and it was fun to watch.

The story is slight and simple but there is not an air of contrivance or over-predictability, and everything feels cohesive. It's directed with verve and class by Frank Launder, it moves at a lively pace meaning that the short length doesn't ever feel long and it's pleasing visually without being stage-bound.

Overall, a wonderful film that made me happy. As one can guess the main reasons to watch it are Sim, Rutherford and the script. 10/10 Bethany Cox

How Hilarious Can a Movie Be?

By: joe-pearce-1
Somehow, in a lifetime in which I estimate having seen over 25,000 films (starting about 72 years back), I had totally missed "The Happiest Days of Your Life". I can be counted upon to rave about a film I like, but rarely go off the deep end over such things. Not until now, anyway. If this isn't the absolutely funniest movie I have ever seen in my life, I can't recall what is. Of course, there are different comedy genres, from French Farce to British Droll, from The Three Stooges and Abbott and Costello to "Some Like It Hot" and "Tom Jones", possibly ending up with Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. But of the kind which relies on sparkling, witty, and cutting dialog delivered by masters (especially British masters), this one has no equal. I live alone, and do not laugh out loud all that often when viewing comedy of any kind, but at 3am this morning, my neighbors could probably have heard me a dozen times laughing right through the walls; this film is just that funny. The slapstick elements that commence about three-quarters of the way through are in themselves hilarious, but the first quarter of the film, given over to the male masters of an all-boys school, is like nothing I have ever seen or heard before, and the actors delivering this scintillating portion of the dialog - Alastair Sim, Richard Wattis, Guy Middleon and Edward Rigby, in particular - are irreplaceable in all of their individual splendor of delivery. When Margaret Rutherford, Joyce Grenfell and others from the distaff side of the proceedings arrive to place their unwelcome mark on what had been a pretty much all-male environment, the dialog and humor remain impeccably delightful (and British; God almighty, it is all so wonderfully British!), but increasing comedic physicality becomes the order of the day. Indeed, the confrontation scenes between Sim and Rutherford - and there are many, constituting the middle portion of the film - are so powerfully comedic that the lines and rejoinders attain an almost corporeal physicality. I've never seen anything of this type so perfectly done on the screen, and the entire 75 or 80 minutes of verbal and physical mayhem are so overwhelmingly delightful that, as one other commentator remarked, I could easily have done with another half-hour of it incorporated into the glorious whole of the film. Anyway, as far as my memory serves right now, from a dialog and one-liner standpoint, this is surely the funniest movie I can recall having seen. I will watch it again tonight and on many subsequent nights, since I have 68 years of catching up to do

Thy don't make them like this anymore

By: cmcastl
I watched this film when it came on recently mainly because it was noted as a reference point for Gregory's Girl (1980).

Thoroughly entertaining but at least fifteen minutes, probably half an hour too short. For me, it ended shockingly quickly.

The attempt by Alistair Sim and Margaret Rutherford as joint heads of a boys and girls school, thrown together by an incompetent bureaucracy, to hoodwink parents and school inspectors comes to such a sharp stop that I can't help thinking that some over-drastic pruning was at work here.

Nothing illustrates the British class system than educational opportunity and it is on exhibition here during the final year of the first British post-war Labour government.

I suppose you could say that the Saint Trinian's series was a sort of sequel but, however funny that was, it was devoid of the subtlety of social commentary that this film was. However, someone obviously noted the potential of Joyce Grenfall and cast her in that series. Alistair Sim also, in the first such film.

Short movie, plenty of giggles.

By: allyatherton
A boy's school receives some very unwelcome visitors

Starring Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford

Screenplay by Frank Launder and John Dighton

Directed by Frank Launder

For an old movie this is a fun runaround.

It's short and witty and a great way to pass just over an hour of your time. It's silly and easy to watch and passes really quickly so that says something about it.

If you fancy a laugh without too much of a plot headache, give it a shot.


One of the great comedy films of all time

By: fcullen
I seldom write 'over-the-top' reviews, but, in my opinion, Happiest Days of Your Life is the funniest of all comedies issued during Britain's golden era (late 1940s-early 1950s) of filmed fun. Directed by Frank Launder, Happiest Days of Your Life provides peerless comedy actors Alastair Sim, Margaret Rutherford, Joyce Grenfell, Richard Wattis, Muriel Aked, Guy Middleton and Edward Rigby with a witty script by John Dighton & Frank Launder filled with opportunities to perform at their best. Although the film is laugh-out-loud funny, convulsively so, at times, it provides a sharply satiric critique of a no-longer-so-Great Britain as it stumblingly tries to negotiate in a few years time a century of bureaucratic transition from ossified Victorian empire to a modern welfare state amid the wreckage and turmoil following WWII. I suggest that Happiest Days of Your Life ranks with the best work by Keaton, Chaplin, Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Monty Python and Mel Brooks.

Frenetic Farce Evoking a Bygone Age

By: l_rawjalaurence
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. Based on a stage success, Frank Launder's film boasts two towering central performances by Alistair Sim and Margaret Rutherford as the head teachers of the boys' and girls' schools forced to share accommodation. The two actors have a field day, using their full range of facial expressions to create characters who, although harassed, can make the best of an almost impossible situation. The supporting cast contains some memorable cameos, notably Joyce Grenfell as Miss Gossage ("you can call me sausage"), Richard Wattis as a harassed teacher (no one could do harassed like Wattis), and Guy Rolfe as a slimy boys' school teacher with an eye for young women. The film zips along at breakneck speed, especially at the end, when the two head teachers try their best to convince some visitors that everything in their school is perfectly normal. THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE is only seventy-five minutes long, but is nonetheless packed with incident and humor. Definitely worth a look if you're feeling low.

St Swithin's versus Nutbourne!

By: Spikeopath
A bumbling error at the Ministry Of Education results in Nutbourne Boys School having to share with St Swithin's School For Girls. This bemuses the respective head teachers of each school and leads to all manner of chaotic goings on, however the two are forced to come to an uneasy alliance in the hope of averting major trouble.

The Happiest Days Of Your Life is based on the John Dighton play from 1948, with Dighton writing the part of Headmistress Whitchurch specifically for Margaret Rutherford. Replacing George Howe from the play in the role of Headmaster Pond, is Alastair Sim, and herein lies the crowning glory of this filmic adaptation, Sim & Rutherford are perfectly wonderful, bouncing off each other to keep what is basically a one joke movie, highly entertaining. Directed by the gifted Frank Launder, and produced by the equally adroit Sidney Gilliat, The Happiest Days Of Your Life is a quintessentially British movie, obviously a precursor to the St Trinians franchise, the film entertains the children with it's high jinks clash of the sexes heart, whilst tickling the watching adults with its very saucy undercurrent. Thankfully the chaotic ending cements all that has gone before it to leave this particular viewer with a grin as wide as Nutbourne Rail Station. Great fun. 8/10

Great place to start for British wit

By: filoshagrat
This film, without doubt, is the clearest example of the British humour the Germans can't understand. One-liners run rampant in a film spawning one of the greatest series of films in British cinema history (St.Trinians). The story of bureaucratic incompetence amid post-war trials enables Frank Launder to direct maximum talent from all the cast. It's probably the only film in which Margaret Rutherford meets her match, in Alastair Sim, for forceful characterisation (she still wins though). Joyce Grenfell (bless her) and Richard Wattis both deserve mentions in Dighton's masterpiece of English etiquette and stiff upper lip under pressure.

No Rutherford/Sim/Grenfell fan would be without this in their collection. Absolutely brilliant. Why 9/10? Only 83mins long.


By: trojanfoe
This film is just plain lovely. It's funny as hell and as old as the hills. The acting is superb and it's fascinating seeing post-war Britain and how we used to behave in those days. This seems to have been some pre-runner to the St. Trinians films (given the Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford connection - there's also a very young George Cole in there who appeared in many St. Trinians films) but I don't myself understand the connection. It was shown on BBC4 recently after a biography of St. Trinians creator Ronald Searle, however I missed enough of the biography to miss the connection with this film. Anyway a great film in its own right and something that should be preserved for all time!

What a script - & what a cast!

By: Learner5
The play is cleverly constructed - begin with the porter, Rainbow - & let the audience see the background unfold through his eyes. The film follows the play with great faithfulness, working, no doubt, on the simple premise that it couldn't be bettered. Now throw in a host of superb character actors - & the result is a resounding triumph.A definite must-see.

Margaret Rutherford at her Best!

By: Mark Whiston
After a long run in the West End this charming film re-cast Margaret Rutherford as the Headmistress 'Miss Whitchurch' in this financially successful adaptation made in 1950.

All interior shots took place at Riverside studios in Hammersmith, London. The exterior scenes were filmed on location at a public girl's school near Liss in Hampshire. During the 12 - week shoot both Margaret Rutherford and Joyce Grenfell were staying in a hotel nearby and would often visit the school during the evenings where they would happily enjoy the company of the real school mistresses.

Although the film's script contains only two original lines from the original play the leads and supporting actors are in fine form and you can only feel sympathetic for their predicament especially in the final scenes.

Be prepared to laugh out loud

By: aromatic-2
One of the flat-out drollest movies of all-time. Sim and Rutherford are at their best matching wits over the predicament of an all-boys and all-girls school sharing the same quarters. Slapstick has never been this sophisticated.

80 mins of absolute joy

By: Hugh-14
From the golden period of British films, this has my vote for one of the funniest of all time. Screened yesterday at my Film Society to a rapturous audience, I was astonished at how well the comedy has lasted (made in 1950!). It is really down to the expert timing and inimitable playing from two of the finest actors Britain has produced: Margaret Rutherford and Alastair Sim. Adapted from a play by John Dighton, this farce is briskly handled by director Frank Launder. The plot is simple: A ministry mistake billets a girls' school on a boys' school. I will always laugh when I think of this film.