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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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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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Carry On Behind (1975)

 “I am going around camp looking for scrubbers.”

A motley assortment of fun-seeking holidaymakers crowd into a grotty caravan park in the British comedy film Carry On Behind. Ernie Bragg (Jack Douglas) and Fred Ramsden (Windsor Davies) have left their wives behind for a ‘fishing holiday.’ Ernie and Fred are supposed to be catching fish, but they’re really after the two girls in the next tent. Arthur Upmore (Bernard Bresslaw) and his wife Linda (Patsy Rowlands) brought her miserable mother, Daphne Barnes (Joan Sims) along on holiday. Another couple insisted on bringing their huge, roaming Irish Wolfhound, and there’s also a smut-talking Mynah bird on the loose. But along with all the holidaymakers, stuffy Professor Roland Crump (Kenneth Williams) and Russian “Roman expert” archeology Professor Anna Vooshka (Elke Sommer) descend upon the campsite in order to conduct excavations of newly discovered Roman ruins.

behindIn many ways, this Carry On script seems a little tired. If the film reminds you of an attempt to recapture the magic of Carry On Camping, you’d be correct. Carry On Behind was even filmed in the same field. Of course the fact that many of the regulars are missing, doesn’t help. Kenneth Connor plays Major Leap–the lecherous owner of the caravan park, and Peter Butterworth plays Henry Barnes–the park’s sly handyman. But Sid James, Charles Hawtrey, Hattie Jacques and Barbara Windsor are all missing. Kenneth Williams has a decent role, but it’s, surprisingly, Elke Sommer who steals (and carries) the film with a marvelous performance. One of the film’s ongoing, best jokes is Professor Vooshka’s broken English. She and Professor Crump are forced to share a caravan, and of course, he’s horrified at the idea. But she delivers some great lines with splendid aplomb and manages to salvage the film with her spotty command of English: “You think you are getting crumpet.” “In this caravan, you not getting much crumpet.” “I am wanting you very badly.” “It’s wrong for lady showing her knickers in public.”

For those unfamiliar with Carry On films, Carry On films were a successful, extremely popular series of lowbrow British comedies that were made over a series of decades. The Carry On team was composed of the best talent in British comedy, and new faces were added to each film.

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Carry On at Your Convenience (1971)

 “That’s all I need–a face full of soggy knickers.”

carry on at your convenienceIn Carry On at Your Convenience there’s a crisis at the Boggs Toilet Factory. The factory is on the verge of bankruptcy, but factory owner W.C. Boggs (Kenneth Williams) refuses to listen to his son Lewis’s (Richard O’Callaghan) suggestion to make money by manufacturing bidets. When Lewis appears with a contract for 1,000 bidets, W.C gives in. But there’s a problem–the sheik who ordered the bidets needs them within 2 months in time for the annual ‘Av-a-Nibble festival during which he visits all 1,000 wives. The pressure is on to complete the order before the deadline and save the factory from ruin.

A number of sub-plots add to the mayhem. Lewis is chasing after Myrtle Plummer (Jacki Piper) the daughter of foreman Sid Plummer (Sid James). Strike-happy union shop steward Vic Spanner (Kenneth Cope) is also pursuing Myrtle. Meanwhile back at the Plummer home, Mrs. Plummer (Hattie Jacques) relentlessly tries to get the budgie to talk while she nags Sid about his gambling losses. The film culminates in the annual works outing to Brighton, and the outing degenerates into a pub-crawl.

Charles Hawtrey appears as a sly toilet designer, Charles Coote. Bernard Bresslaw is Bernie Hulke–Vic’s sidekick. Joan Sims appears as Chloe Moore, Sid’s extra-marital interest, and Patsy Rowlands plays the lovelorn secretary Hortence Withering. For those who’ve never seen a Carry-On film, 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 at Your Convenience is particularly interesting as its bottom-smacking humour occurs largely at the workplace, and the film was made before anyone had heard of the term ‘sexual harassment.’ For those of us who are Carry-On fans, Carry On at Your Convenience will create a pleasant state of nostalgia.

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Carry On Up The Jungle (1970)

 “Never mind whose knickers they were.”

The Carry On team is unleashed in Africa–the “land of unbridled passions” in the hilarious film, Carry On Up the Jungle. A team of British subjects–led by safari guide Bill Boosey (Sid James) goes deep into the heart of the jungle. Professor Inago Tinkle (Frankie Howerd) and his assistant, Lord Chumley (Kenneth Connor) are on a quest to discover a rare and supposedly extinct bird. Lady Evelyn Bagley (Joan Sims) is searching for her husband and baby who both disappeared 20 years before.

During their adventures, safari members run into a curious gorilla, a chubby, lonely Tarzan (Terry Scott), and a fierce tribe of Cannibals–the Noshers (“keep hoping they don’t like stuffing!”). Bill Boosey’s secret drinking is constantly interrupted by the latest safari disaster, and Lady Evelyn assumes she’s the centre of all the pent-up male desire in the camp.

Kenneth Williams is absent from this Carry On film, but Frankie Howerd plays one of the lead comic roles. Howerd was an extremely popular and saucy British comedian who had his own television series Up Pompeii. And while Kenneth Williams’ absence is noted, Howerd is extremely good in this role as the fussy ornithologist. Bernard Bresslaw plays the guide Upsidaisi, and Charles Hawtrey also appears in a small role.

For those unfamiliar with Carry On films–Carry On films were a series of extremely popular lowbrow British comedy films that were made over the course of about 30 years. The Carry On team was comprised of regulars who represented the best British comedic talent of the day. New faces were added for each film, and the viewer could always count on being entertained by the cliche-ridden jokes loaded with double entendre. Carry On Up the Jungle isn’t the strongest entry in the series, but it’s all good-natured fun for fans.

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