The Watchers

The Watchers

Monday, 10 December 2012

What A Carry On!

When asked to name iconic moments in British cinema, it probably won't take long before someone gets to 'Barbara Windsor's bra flying off in Carry On Camping'. The Carry On... films are a British institution, as British as The Beatles, Doctor Who or James Bond. They are known for their cheeky seaside-postcard humour and double entendres, Sid James' filthy laugh, Kenneth Williams' flaring nostrils, Hattie Jacques' Matron and the aforementioned Ms Windsor's wardrobe malfunction.

There were thirty-one feature films (from 1958's Carry On Sergeant to 1992's Carry On Columbus, all directed by Gerald Thomas and produced by Peter Rogers), four Christmas specials, a thirteen-episode TV series and various stage shows. Critics might not have liked them but the movie-going public certainly did. In tribute to this giant of British comedy cinema, here are my five favourite Carry On films (presented in chronological order).

Written by Norman Hudis

More a set of sketches than a full-length story, all based around the misadventures of an employment agency. Highlights include Nicholas Parsons getting slapped by a drunk Joan Sims, Fenella Fielding trying to seduce a flustered Kenneth Connor and a cameo by Stanley Unwin as their gobbledegook-speaking landlord. Ah, deep joy!

Written by Talbot Rothwell

An elegant parody of the Hammer House of Horror films, with Harry H Corbett in the place of Sid James as Sergeant Bung. Kenneth Williams chews the scenery as Dr Orlando Watt who is constantly 'frying tonight' and there's a nice turn by Charles Hawtrey as Dan Dann, the lavatory man.

Written by Talbot Rothwell

My absolute favourite Carry On film. The regular cast- Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Jim Dale, Joan Sims, Peter Butterworth, Hattie Jacques, Barbara Windsor and Bernard Bresslaw- are all in attendance and joined by the one and only Frankie Howerd. Absolutely sublime.

Written by Talbot Rothwell

One of the most well-known entries in the series, this film is probably best remembered for the hilarious final scene where Sid James and the others calmly hold a dinner party as the palace is being blown to pieces around them.

Written by Talbot Rothwell

It's back to the hospital setting as Sid James heads a gang planning to steal a haul of contraceptive pills. Of course, his plan doesn't go to plan. There's a nice reversal in this film with Kenneth Williams' head doctor lusting after Hattie Jacques' Matron, rather than the other way around.

So those are my favourites. What about yours? Would Carry On Cleo make your Top 5? How about Carry On Loving, or Carry On Cowboy? Let me know in the comments below.


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