Sunday, 13 September 2015

Why I Love Carry On Regardless

I realised the other week that although I've been writing about the Carry Ons for several months now, it's been ages since I actually sat down and watched one. So I dug out my DVD collection and caught up with my favourite comedy team.

Although I've obviously got my favourites, what has struck me more than anything is how charming the early black and white entries are. The likes of Nurse, Teacher and Constable are all super comedy films from a golden era of British film. Yesterday I watched Carry On Regardless for the first time in a while and I absolutely loved it.

So here, in no particular order are the reasons why I enjoyed it so much:

1. I love the episodic nature of the film. Other films in the series also followed this loose pattern and the best example was probably Carry On Loving which also featured an agency with Sid at the helm. I think the fact the same exterior in Windsor was used for the marriage agency shows the entire film is a nod to the success of Regardless. The various sketches featured in Regardless are all well stitched together by Norman Hudis and in many ways it works as a cinematic revue. As so many of the team started off in intimate revue it's no surprise that the film is a huge success. 

2. It cements Sid's position at the top of the Carry On table. I love the early appearances Sid made in the Carry Ons. There are hints of the Hancock persona and suggestions of the qualities that would come later (his scene with the scantily clad nurses springs to mind). However for the most part, Sid is again the central figure of authority that the rest of the goons play off. He is superb at Bert Handy and I love his scenes with Esma Cannon as his assistant Miss Cooling. It sets the tone for the Carry Ons that would follow and show just how important Sid was to the team.

3. Joan Sims is at her finest during the wine tasting scene. At a time when funny women were in short supply on the big screen, Joan grabs this opportunity with both hands. She is absolutely superb at the wine tasting, her comic timing is sublime and yet again we see her tremendous versatility. She also looks gorgeous - what a woman!

4. Kenneth Williams at the chimps tea party. Need I say more?

5. That wonderfully jazzy theme tune. Regardless is the last time the original Carry On theme is used in the series. A re-worked version was used in Cruising, but I love the jazzy title music in Regardless and the fact the same music was used in each recurring film. Great stuff.

6. Kenneth Connor is at his very best in Regardless. In many ways he is the star of the film. He certainly gets the majority of the action. The ten minutes or so that is given over to the 39 Steps sequence (featuring wonderful cameos by Eric Pohlmann, Victor Maddern and a winking Betty Marsden) is just superb. Kenneth gives it his all and it is beautifully played.

7. Carry On Regardless introduced Liz Fraser to the gang. Liz is a wonderful comic actress and added real glamorous innocence to the film. She was a natural. While the Carry On blonde became Barbara Windsor's territory in the years to come, Liz is my favourite. 

8. Finally, Regardless simply boasts the finest array of classic British comedy actors in any of the Carry On films. Here is just a brief selection: Joan Hickson, Jerry Desmonde, Patrick Cargill, Fenella Fielding, David Lodge, Nicholas Parsons, Molly Weir, June Jago, Stanley Unwin, Judith Furse, Betty Marsden, Kynaston Reeves, Howard Marion Crawford, Terence Alexander, Sydney Tafler, Esma Cannon, Norman Rossington and Carole Shelley. What a cast!

So there you go, that's why I love Carry On Regardless. If you haven't watched it for a while, why not check it out?

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  1. I wish Betty Marsden had appeared in more Carry Ons (I believe that Camping was her only other). Loved her in the Round The Horne radio shows.

    1. Yes sadly Betty only made two Carry Ons. She was an excellent comedienne and character actress and I wish she'd appeared in more of the series.