While much of Carry On Girls makes for an uncomfortable, unsatisfying watch, there are still bright spots and most of these involve the glorious pairing of Kenneth Connor and Patsy Rowlands. As Mayor Frederick Bumble and his wife Mildred, Kenneth and Patsy shine as a wonderfully downtrodden double act throughout the film. While Kenneth plays his crumbling, bombastic little man character, Patsy excels as the drab Mildred who eventually has enough of her husband, joins Augusta Prodworthy's women's lib organisation and has the last laugh at the beauty contest at the end of the film.
My favourite scene featuring Kenneth and Patsy plays out as the ultimate domestic sitcom situation. Frederick Bumble comes down the stairs in the morning to find Mildred, clad in that dreadful blue dressing gown, smoking a fag and listening the radio. As he chides her slovenly ways and the lack of a decent breakfast, Mildred obviously struggles to give a monkeys! As he says about the radio "I can't remember the last time you had it off", she replies "neither can I"...
I absolutely love the moment Patsy drops a bit of fag ash into Kenneth's tea! As Patsy wasn't a smoker in real life, this really was putting art first! The situation culminates with Frederick's discovery of himself on the front page of the newspaper, trousers round his ankles with Dawn Brakes at his feet! Patsy's reaction to his impotent rage is just fantastic!
While Kenneth Connor was used to large roles in the Carry Ons, the role of Mildred Bumble proved to be one of only a few major supporting turns for Patsy in the series. Given how successful she is in the part, I cannot understand why her next appearance, in Carry On Dick, was little more than a walk on.
Anyway, Patsy and Kenneth just about salvage Carry On Girls from the brink for me. I love them together.
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