Marcel Varnel | 1937 | ★★★★
When a new governor challenges his teaching methods, an incompetent school master is charged with entering eight of his boys into a scholastic competition to prove his worth. Surprisingly, disaster doesn’t follow, as a copy of the examination paper falls into his and his pupils' hands in advance, allowing both them to win the competition with ease (and a trip to Paris in the process) and him to keep his job for the foreseeable future. However, when one of their fathers escapes from a nearby prison, they unfortunately find themselves lumbered with an extra guest for their cross-channel trip—a guest who surreptitiously puts them slap-bang in the middle of a plot to steal The Mona Lisa. Hay’s central performance, as great as ever, is bolstered by a number of excellent supporting turns, with Lilli Palmer’s, as a sexy Parisian nightclub singer, proving particularly eye-catching. The considerable talents of director Varnel, photographer Arthur Crabtree, and designer Vetchinsky also prove significant, with the film having a very distinctive look. And, of course, the screenplay, featuring such gems as the watt/what is a unit of electricity gag, is quite delightful.