zazie_toujours (zazie_toujours) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

ONTD Original: 6 pop culture girl schools

With Picnic at Hanging Rock coming soon to our screens as a television series starring Natalie Dormer, let's take a look back at a few classics set in or around girls' schools.

Appleyard College
featured in Picnic At Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975)

This sinister, eerie film about the disappearance of several schoolgirls is an Australian classic and basically invented Sophia Coppola's entire career. It was based on a novel by Joan Lindsay.

Christchurch Girls' High School
featured in Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 1994)

This film is a gothic, inventive true crime thriller about two 50s schoolgirls whose obsession with pop culture, fiction and each other led to murder. The renewed interest in the case ended up outing the real Pauline and Juliet, the former living a solitary, anonymous life and the latter - prolific murder mystery novelist Anne Perry.

Unnamed Montigny school
featured in Claudine at school by Colette

Okay this was set at a co-ed school iirc but this 1900 novel gets to be in the post anyway for its brazen lesbianism, causing scandal back in its day. Colette's heavily autobiographical Claudine series kicks off with an entertaining school story of teacher lust and teenage manipulation and drama. The English version was translated by the great Antonia White (author of another wonderful girls school novel; Frost In May). The above illustrations are from a recently released graphic novel version by Lucie Durbiano.

Marcia Blaine School for girls
featured in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
A witty, entertaining mystery starring an unconventional, bolshy school teacher and her faithful coven of pupils, "The Brodie set". It was also turned into a quite good film starring a young Maggie Smith in the title role. If you've never read the great Spark, this is the perfect book to start with. And if you've seen the awful Eva Green-starring Cracks, this is where it got its (very few) good bits from.

St Trinian's School
featured in St.Trinian's School by Ronald Searle

The brilliant, beloved cartoonist Ronald Searle's most famous creation was St Trinian's School, a darkly hilarious comic strip set at a girl's school. If all you know are the tarted up films, these strips are about a million times better and have far more in common with Roald Dahl and Charles Addams than Clueless. That said this remains a bop:

Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches
featured in The Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy

Before Harry Potter there was the clumsy Mildred Hubble, and before Hogwarts there was Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches. Author Jill Murphy began writing this story at age 15, heavily basing it on her experiences at Ursuline Convent school, turning her friends and teachers into witches. Properly charming, wholesome stuff.

What fictional school would you have liked to go to ONTD?

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Tags: books / authors, list, nostalgia, ontd original

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