Tuesday 2 June 2015

My Favourite Scene: Carry On Regardless

This is very much a matter of personal preference, but that kind of thing normally sparks an interesting debate! Rather than review each individual Carry On film, I've decided to look at the films and choose my favourite scene from each film. 

I have already blogged about my favourite scenes in Convenience and Abroad. Today I'm going to look at Carry On Regardless. 

Regardless is a right mixed bag of a Carry On! It's a glorious compilation of scenes allowing those present to give it everything they've got. Nothing subtle here! The whole film is held together by Sid's Helping Hands Agency with his madcap employees being sent out to do just about any job for just about anybody! It's prime early 1960s British comedy and although it's Norman Hudis' least favourite of all he scripted, I have a real soft spot for it.

Whether it's Kenneth Williams taking a chimpanzee for a walk, Liz Fraser modelling underwear for a rather frightened looking Jimmy Thompson, Charles Hawtrey knocking out Tom Clegg in the boxing ring or Kenneth Connor losing his trousers in Fenella Fielding's bedroom, there is something for everyone!

Now, to my favourite scene. One scene stands tall above all the others in Carry On Regardless. Amidst one of the largest ever casts of classic comedy performers, Joan Sims' marvellous wine tasting scene is just the finest sequence in the entire film. Joan is on fine form as Lily Duveen, going from posh hostess with the mostest, flirting with the likes of David Lodge, to startling the wine waiter with her cry of "Here's cream on your salad!" it's a majestic performance and a lesson in comic timing, farce and being a strong, funny female in the days when men definitely ruled the roost. 

Joan is wonderful at playing the comedy drunk which is no mean feat. Just think how many times you see actors acting drunk badly! She is the star of the show and a true professional too, given that Gerald Thomas fed her real gin at 8.30 in the morning when she had no idea it was coming! 

The conclusion of the scene is pure Carry On. Physical humour, lots of prat-falling and poor Nicholas Parsons getting a punch on the nose for trying it on! As Joan says it's "disgraceful! A load of drunks!" 

It's quite simply a beautifully played scene and it never fails to make me laugh.

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