Sunday, 10 May 2015

Carry On Composing

God bless Eric Rogers. The Carry On films would not have been nearly as brilliant without his beautifully judged musical scores. Rogers composed and conducted the theme tunes and incidental music for 22 of the 31 Carry On films made and his contribution should not be underestimated.

Taking over control of the musical scores from Bruce Montgomery, Rogers created some marvellous tunes over the years. I love the theme music for Carry On Cabby, it really sets the tone, while the music that heralds the arrival of the Glam Cab drivers is just superb. My favourite of all Eric Rogers' themes must be those for Carry On Doctor, Carry On Camping and Carry On Abroad. Each are memorable and really capture of the essence of the films that follow.

I also love the sentimental music he composed for the lovely scene between Joan Sims and Sid James at the end of Convenience. The quality of these compositions really does raise the bar and help nudge these low budget comedies up to a higher level. 

Rogers is possibly an unsung hero of the Carry Ons, only appearing very briefly as the bandleader in the party scenes in Again Doctor. He does provide glorious snatches of past classics in that scene, playing the theme from Cabby as well as the wonderful The Magic of Love from the Cafe Mozart scene in Spying (beautifully brought to life by Dilys Laye in that film). Sadly, Peter Rogers tried to cut the music budget for Carry On England so Eric declined to be involved in that film. The difference really shows. The score for England just doesn't cut it.

I really loved how he developed particular musical cues to signify the arrival of a particular character. Who can forget Charles Hawtrey's little intro music or the tune that greeted the arrival of Hattie Jacques' Matron. The music that accompanied Barbara Windsor's tottering nurse in Doctor is also a classic.

Can you imagine the Carry On films without their musical accompaniments? No, I can't either. What's your favourite piece of Carry On music? 

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