Friday, January 5, 2007



The A-level (short for Advanced Level) is a General Certificate of Education qualification in the United Kingdom taken by students in the final two years of secondary education. While A-levels are a qualification in their own right, they are often the prerequisite for university-level study as well, making them a de facto university entrance examination.

Both Oxford and Cambridge are universities deemed essential to propelling someone into the ranks of the elite upon graduation. Both require applicants to take their entrance examinations and be interviewed by a panel. The fictitious Oxbrige College the boys hope to go to apparently has the same entrance requirements.

Definition: a small fragment or extract.
Example: he provided only a gobbet of information.

The Carry On films were a long-running series of twenty-nine low-budget comedy films made between 1958 and 1978. An energetic mix of parody, farce and double entendres, they are seen as classic examples of British humour.

Richard Griffiths: Hector, teacher of General Studies at Cutler Grammar School
Dominic Cooper: Dakin, the self-styled class leader
Samuel Barnett: Posner, the “runt” of the group
Frances de la Tour: one of Hector’s colleagues Dorothy Lintott
Clive Merrison: the Headmaster
Stephen Campbell Moore: Irwin, an unorthodox History teacher

Given that 90% of the movie takes place within a classroom of just eight gifted students, it is not surprising that the dialog is replete with esoteric intellectual references. One can get bogged down if taken up too much with these musings and could conclude that the movie is a bore (as one chap did during the filming I attended and he actually fell asleep; his snoring was something of a distraction…but I digress).

Much of the dialog comes across as a stage play (which it was originally) so there are a lot of words, some of which are rather clever but a lot are unnecessary for the development of the story. Some of the performances are rather formal but not all; Hector is much more believable than some of the others.

for language and sexual content.

While returning home on his motorbike, Hector passes by a house with a satellite dish mounted on it. These had not yet been invented in 1983 when the movie takes place.

There is one scene entirely in French with the students acting out roles in a French brothel using only the present subjunctive tense. You don’t have to understand what is being said to see the humour in it, especially what services are offered when you pay just “20 francs”.

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