Friday, 16 October 2015

My Favourite Scene: Carry On Jack

I have been writing an occasional series of blogs looking at my favourite scenes in each of the original thirty Carry Ons made between 1958 and 1978. I have written about some of my absolute favourites like Cabby, Screaming and Camping and some I'd rather avoid, like England, Emmannuelle and Dick.

Today I'm going to reminisce about one of my lesser favourites from the early days of Carry On - Carry On Jack, which was made in 1963. 

My main issue with Jack is that it just doesn't really feel like a proper Carry On. Although it is written by Talbot Rothwell (his first full Carry On script) it lacks the humour we've come to recognise immediately as "Carry On". It also skimps on the regular Carry On cast, with only Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey and a brief cameo from Jim Dale showing up to bat for the regular team. The film really does miss the likes of Joan Sims, Hattie Jacques and Sid James. 

The film does have its strengths though. I love the period detail and all the costumes. Guest stars Bernard Cribbins and Juliet Mills do well as the romantic leads and the film boasts a superb supporting cast of actors - Donald Houston, Percy Herbert, Peter Gilmore and Cecil Parker. Jim Dale's brief cameo sets him up for much larger parts in later films. His comic talent and physicality shine through despite very limited screen time. For me though, it just all falls short of a true classic series entry.

Anyway, this blog is meant to be about my favourite scene in the film, not a critique of the film as a whole. Although I love the interplay between Jim Dale, Bernard Cribbins and Ian Wilson  in the sedan chair sequence at the start of the film, I love all the business in Dirty Dicks. The set is dressed superbly, the atmosphere is beautifully seedy and saucy and the action is quick, sharp and well filmed. 

The whole sequence sets up the film and introduces us to the wonderful Juliet Mills as Sally. It also features a rumbustious cameo from George Woodbridge and sees an innocent Bernard Cribbins and Charles Hawtrey press ganged by Houston and Herbert. Throw in a cheeky cameo from Marianne Stone and you have the highlight of the film for me! 

It makes me want to pop into Dirty Dicks for a quick one!

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