Category Archives: Carry On Films

Carry On Abroad (1972)

“I say, hold on old chap, we’re British.”

During the 1970s, British holidaymakers returning from abroad often had horror stories to tell of miserable holidays spent in half-finished hotels, so it’s no wonder that the Carry On team decided to take their unique brand of humour to a cheap package tour on the Spanish resort of Elsbels.

The film begins one evening in a pub owned by Vic (Sid James) and Cora (Joan Sims) Flange. Vic is scheduled to take his annual holiday, leaving the pub in the hands of his very capable Missus. While the married couple find separate holidays the most practical choice, Vic can’t wait for his holiday to begin because he’s planned to spend it with local dolly bird, Sadie Tompkins (Barbara Windsor). When Cora sniffs that Vic plans a romantic getaway with the petite, busty blonde, she decides to crash the party and makes Vic take her along on the package tour of four days and five nights to Elsbels. Vic and Cora are just part of a motley assortment of holiday makers led by tour guide Stuart Farquhar (Carry On favourite Kenneth Williams). There’s another married couple, Stanley and Evelyn Blunt (Kenneth Connor and June Whitfield), mummy’s boy Eustace Tuttle (Charles Hawtrey), swinging bachelor Bert Conway (Jimmy Logan) who’s on the lookout for loose crumpet, two young single girls Marge & Lily  (Carol Hawkins & Sally Geeson), two single men Robin & Nicholas (John Clive & David Kernan) who have a rather vague relationship, and a horde of monks (including Bernard Bresslaw) who are on the trip to visit the tomb of St Celicia.

Things begin to go wrong immediately, and the not-so-happy holidaymakers have a miserable time. Of course some of the holidaymakers are miserable to begin with, and staying in a hotel that’s only partly finished doesn’t thrill the guests. The hotel is run by the overworked and pathetically eager to please Pepe (Peter Butterworth), his ferocious wife Floella (Hatti Jacques) and their son Georgio (Ray Brooks). Obviously a hotel of this size needs more staff, but what the hotel lacks in staff, Pepe makes up for in ingenuity, serving beans for dinner accompanied by cheap wine, “Spanish-type Australian-French Burgundy, product of Hong Kong.”

A great deal of the humour comes from suggestive double entendre (“Have you got a large one?”) and there are some visual laughs too generated from the shabbily constructed hotel. But in addition to the laughs, there’s some interesting parallels right beneath the plot’s surface. The two married couples are about the same age and their marriages are both textbook cases of different sorts of misery. While lothario Vic would love to dump the wife and run off for a dirty weekend with Sadie, he doesn’t appreciate what he has in his long-suffering companion Cora. Circumstances force the Flanges into the company of the Blunts and their sexless marriage. There’s one scene when Cora struggles with a chair until Stanley comes to her rescue. He’s just settled his nagging, peevish, uptight wife down in the shade when he sees that Cora needs his help, and he’s happy, more than happy to offer his services.

Peter Butterworth’s role of Pepe adds a great deal of fun to the film. When he’s not running around trying to please the unhappy guests, he’s creating lots of laughs with his broken English. For one meal,  for example, the holiday makers are served Brown Bristols soup, and Pepe calls Farquhar, “Farqiarse.” Although he’s continually corrected, Pepe can never get it right. Barbara Windsor, an extremely popular Carry On regular seems walled off and minimized by her role in the film, and that’s a shame.

Carry On Abroad isn’t perfect, and it’s not my favourite in the series, but it’s still a wonderful return to the Carry On gang and the many, many laughs they gave their fans. For those who aren’t familiar with Carry On films, Carry On films were made over the course of two decades and featured Carry On regulars who formed the core team.

From director Gerald Thomas.

Quotes:

“Come on, we’re having a leak.”

“You filthy beast. Be off with you before I call the police.”

“Oh shove off. Go rescue somebody else.”

“I want to bloody well assert my manhood.”

“If you take that little strumpet to the party, I’ll take my ankle bracelet back.”

“Havings good times and lettings hairs down.”

“Better watch it. He’ll be pinching your bottom next.”

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Cor Blimey (2000)

 

Nice Try

corDuring the 50s, 60s, and 70s, some of the best comedians in England formed the Carry On team, and the team appeared in a number of comedy films created in the Pinewood Studios in England. The Carry On team had regulars–such as–Sid James. Hattie Jacques, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims, etc, and new talent was also added to the core cast over the years. The Carry On films were immensely popular, and fans anticipated the next release knowing they were in for a lot of laughs. Cor Blimey is the story of the relationship–both on and off the screen of Sid James and Barbara Windsor–an actress who joined the team in the 60s at the height of their success.

First–if you haven’t watched a Carry On film, Cor Blimey probably won’t have a great deal of relevance for you. The love story between Sid James and Barbara Windsor is carried out against the backdrop of some of their very popular films–Carry On Cleo, Carry On Camping, Carry On Spying, and Carry On Henry VIII etc. The film details how James and Windsor met–Sid was a big star and Barbara played a bit part–how she avoided an affair (they were both married. Sid was in his late 50s, and she was in her early 30s)–and how the Carry On team reacted to their relationship.

Samantha Spiro really does a credible job as Barbara Windsor–the pocket Venus buxom blonde with the infectious giggle. Geoffrey Hutchings as Sid James manages to re-create many of Sid’s mannerisms–including his one-of-a-kind dirty laugh. Adam Godley as Kenneth Williams was a bit over the top–the voice and mannerisms were good, but he just came across as someone imitating Kenneth Williams.

Overall, Cor Blimey made a nice attempt to portray the relationship between Sid James and Barbara Windsor. But I couldn’t really get over two main faults the film had. (1) Some of the actors and actresses portraying the real-life counterparts were so physically different that it was distracting (at the same time, I understand that must be practically impossible to find an actor who looks even remotely like Sid James). (2) The implication made by the film was that many real-life incidents were uncannily like scenes from a Carry On film–Kenneth Williams flashing everyone, the trailer mishap, and the most preposterous suggestion that the matron in Sid’s ward was a dead ringer for Hattie Jacques. I know Life imitates Art–and vice versa–but this film stretched it a bit far. Cor Blimey relies on the deep abiding affection of the audience for Carry On films, and perhaps I do miss the Carry On team enough to find this pale imitation acceptable.

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Carry On Camping (1969)

 “All my life, I’ve been like an unused clockwork toy.”

In the British comedy, Carry On Camping, Sid Boggle (Sid James) and Bernie Lugg (Bernard Bresslaw) take their girlfriends to see a film about nudist camping. The film is supposed to be an icebreaker, but the fact that Joan Fussey (Joan Sims) and Anthea (Dilys Lane) are outraged by the film doesn’t deter Sid from plotting a cosy holiday for four at the Paradise Nudist Camp. Unfortunately, things don’t go and smoothly as planned, and Sid, Bernie, Joan, and Anthea end up camping in a grotty field owned by crafty farmer, Mr Fiddler. Things look grim for Sid’s devious plans, but then a busload of budding schoolgirls arrives from Chayste Place led by headmaster Doctor Soaper (Kenneth Williams), and Matron, Miss Haggerd (Hattie Jacques). The effervescent Barbara Windsor stars as one of the more mischief-seeking schoolgirls.

To add to the merriment, various other peculiar campers also merge onto Farmer Fiddler’s field. Mr and Mrs Potter are perennial campers. Mr Potter longs to dump the tent and the tandem, but Mrs Potter skillfully ignores all of her husband’s objections while she giggles in the most annoying fashion. Charlie Muggins (Charles Hawtrey)–is a tentless hiker who “isn’t fussy” where he sleeps, and he enroaches on everyone’s politeness. The film is worth renting just to see Hawtrey in shorts.

The Carry On team produced a large number of films from the 50s through the 70s, and the team consisted of a core group of British comedians with new talent added for each film–I suppose the closest equivalent in America would be National Lampoon films. A great deal of the comedy is in the double entendre lines delivered almost non-stop. And while the films are loaded with adult subject matter, it’s really all good clean fun in the end. If you’ve never watched a “carry on” film before, I recommend starting with either Carry On Camping or Carry On Nurse. These are both gems and some of the best in the series. Carry On Camping is from director Gerald Thomas.

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Carry On Emmannuelle (1978)

 “You must think of me as your last resort.”

Carry On Emmannuelle is one the worst films in the entire Carry On series. Emmannuelle Prevert (Suzanne Danielle sporting a dreadful fake accent) is the sexually liberated wife of diplomat Emile Prevert (Kenneth Williams). When Emmannuelle joins her husband in London, she discovers that he’s only interested in body building exercises. Consequently, Emmannuelle begins an adulterous odyssey through the lives of numerous London politicians.

carry on emmannuelleIf there is any value to be found in Carry On Emmannuelle, it is through the examination of the entire Carry On series, and its decline to this atrocity. The innocence of the 50s films was replaced by the naughtiness of the 60s and early 70s, and by 1978, Carry On Emmannuelle is nothing but a hollow shell of the former glory of Carry On films. The main point of Carry On Emmannuelle seems to be titillation, and this is undoubtedly supposed to be flamed by the nude shots. Perhaps the film was naughty in 1978, but by today’s standards, it’s just a mess of tired plot, and gratuitous, silly titillation.

A few of the ‘old’ Carry On team are present for the carnage. Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, and Peter Butterworth are all servants ‘below stairs.’ There are a few good moments between the servants in the kitchen (I loved the scenes with Joan Sims in the launderette, and Peter Butterworth in France), but the plot is determined to focus on Emmannuelle and her silly adventures. This was the last-but-one Carry On film, and after seeing this stinker, it’s easy to see why it took 14 years for Carry On Columbus to appear.

For those who have never heard of Carry On films, this was a series of popular British comedies that were made over a period of several decades. The Carry On team was composed of regulars, and then new faces were added for each film. If you’ve never seen a Carry On film, don’t start here. Try Carry On Camping, Carry On Nurse or Carry On Don’t Lose Your Head.

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Carry On Girls (1973)

 “I don’t recognise you with your trousers on.”

The Carry On films were made over a period of almost three decades. The Carry On team was composed of a core of the greatest comic talent in Britain, and while the films also included new talent, Carry On fans always knew they could count on seeing some of their old favourites. Carry On films are bawdy, loaded with cliches and sexual innuendo, and so if that sort of comedy appeals to you, you are guaranteed to enjoy yourself.

carry-on-girlsCarry On Girls is film number 25 in the series. Sid Fiddler (Sid James) suggests that the small coastal town of Fircombe should host a beauty pageant to boost tourism. The pliable mayor Frederick Bumble (Kenneth Connor) goes along with the scheme. Councilor Augusta Prodworthy (June Whitfield), an acid-tongued, ardent woman’s libber is outraged by the idea, and she organises teams of local women to protest and sabotage the event.

Sid decides that the beauty pageant must be promoted by fair means or foul, so he and Peter Potter (Bernard Bresslaw) organise a series of publicity stunts aimed at grabbing the front page. Sid is aided and abetted by Miss Easy Rider, Hope Springs (Barbara Windsor) while Sid’s fed-up fiancee hotelier, Connie Philpotts (Joan Sims) is scandalised by the antics of the beauty pageant crowd.

The teaming of Sid James and Barbara Windsor will delight Carry On fans. They make a great team. Sid is his usual rascally persona, and Windsor is cheeky and scantily clad. The film is replete with hilarious characters–there’s an elderly woman who’s consumed with the idea that every man on the planet is after her underwear, and there’s an admiral (Peter Butterworth) who uses his telescope to get close-ups of the contestants. The humour is steady, and the film’s conclusion is riotous. There’s nothing like a little nostalgia to improve the spirits, so if you want a good laugh, and enjoy bawdy British humour, then Carry On films are for you.

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Carry on Regardless (1961)

 “Will you please try and control yourself.”

carry on regardlessIn the British comedy film, Carry On Regardless Bert Handy (Sid James) opens the Helping Hands agency. With his loyal secretary Miss Cooling (Esma Cannon), the agency’s seven employees tackle all sorts of jobs–from clothes model, chimp-walker, bouncer, and bird-minder. This is one of the early Carry On films, so the film’s humour is not as bawdy as some of the films from the later 60s and 70s. The good thing about Carry On Regardless is the cast line up:

Sam Twist (Kenneth Connor)
Gabriel Dimple (Charles Hawtrey)
Lily Duveen (Joan Sims)
Francis Courtenay (Kenneth Williams)
Nurse (Hattie Jacques)

In addition, there’s gravel-voiced Fenella Fielding as Penny Panting, and Stanley Unwin as the landlord.

The film’s structure is problematic as there’s no real plot–just a series of episodic scenes as employees attempt to perform a job. The general lack of cohesion damages the film, but the film is still great fun to watch.  One scene (and possibly the best in the entire film) places Lily Duveen at a wine tasting, and she proceeds to get extremely drunk and wreck the place. Sid James isn’t in his best role here. I prefer his bawdier comedies (Carry On Camping, for example)–he’s much better when unleashed. The characters of the various employees are variable–Kenneth Williams as the snobby linguist is good, but again, his full persona has yet to be developed, and he’s much better in some of the later Carry On films.

Fans of Carry On films will want to catch Carry On Regardless to see how the team developed and evolved. Carry On films were produced for over three decades, and the films served as a showcase for some of Britain’s best comedy talent.

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Carry On Screaming (1966)

 “I wouldn’t assault you with a barge pole.”

When a number of young girls go missing within a relatively short period of time, Detective Sgt. Bung (Harry H. Corbett) and his loyal assistant Constable Slobotham (Peter Butterworth) investigate the crime. The most recent girl to disappear is Doris Mann (Angela Douglas) who vanishes during a night out with her boyfriend, Albert (Jim Dale) in the woods. The police follow a trail of clues (including a hairy finger) to the sinister and remote Bide-a-Wee mansion.

carry-on-screamingCarry on Screaming, a spoof of the horror film genre, is one of the best films in the Carry On series. The plot manages to cover Frankenstein, Dracula, an Egyptian Mummy, and Jekyll and Hyde with lowbrow, campy style. This good-natured costume drama is packed with great characters–including villains Dr. Watt (Kenneth Williams) and his sultry vampish sister, Valeria (Fenella Fielding). Bernard Bresslaw appears as the butler, Socket, and Jon Pertwee (one of the versions of Doctor Who) appears in a tiny role as Dr. Fettle. Sgt. Bung’s wife, Emily Bung (Joan Sims) has an ongoing role as the repulsive, nagging wife who waits for her husband to come home so she can launch into another verbal assault. Charles Hawtrey appears as a toilet attendant (“I live in a man’s world”). Sid James is missing from the cast, and so the film almost doesn’t seem like one of the Carry On series, but Harry H. Corbett as Sgt. Bung does an excellent job as the beleaguered policeman. Corbett, perhaps better know for his role in the wonderful comedy series, Steptoe and Son, is a one-of-a-kind comedian, and he makes the film.

Carry On films were immensely popular comedy films that showcased the best British comedy talent, and the films created millions of fans for decades. British television fans will catch allusions to Steptoe and Son and also the highly popular British television series Z Cars. Faithful to the Carry On tenet, the humour isn’t exactly subtle, but in this instance, it isn’t very bawdy, and the humour is mainly mild double entendre (“I’ve been up all night looking for a woman.”). If you enjoy Carry On films, then don’t miss this one–it’s one of the best.

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