Monday 13 July 2015

My Favourite Scene: Carry On Cowboy

I have been running a series of blogs which focus on my favourite scenes in each of the thirty original Carry On films made between 1958 and 1978. It's quite a hard task I have set myself, both in terms of picking one scene from the best of the best but also being able to pick a good scene from the worst of the worst!

Today I'm giving myself an easy one. I love Carry On Cowboy. It features some terrific performances from many of the best Carry On regulars, in particular from Sid James, Jim Dale, Charles Hawtrey and Joan Sims. It also introduces us to several wonderful new additions to the Carry On cast, in Peter Butterworth, Bernard Bresslaw and Angela Douglas.

I think Joan Sims enjoys one of the finest roles in her Carry On career in Cowboy. As Belle, owner of the local saloon, she's a glamorous, gun-toting, no nonsense southern gal! Joan also looks fantastic throughout in a series of glorious period costumes. Her hair and make up are superb and as usual her accent is terrific. She is powerful, dynamic and oozes sex appeal.

Which brings me to my favourite scene in the film. It simply has to be Joan's first entrance as Belle. Sid James' Rumpo Kid has just made a shocking entrance into Stodge City and while trying to order a whisky at the bar, a shot rings out, taking the glass out of Rumpo's hand. While the rest of the local men cower and hide from Sid, Joan's character takes him on! Joan slinks down a long staircase in a skintight black gown and looks every inch the star. 

She then engages in some classic Carry On dialogue with Sid James, which culminates in the brilliant line: "My, but you've got a big one! ... I'm from Texas Ma'am, we've all got big one's down there!" This was probably the first time Sid and Joan were partnered directly together in a Carry On and it was immediately clear that a superb on screen partnership was born. They would go on to work opposite each other in many more films in the series and were always a high point.

While many of Joan's later roles were less than glamorous - shrewish wives and nagging mother in laws - in Carry On Cowboy she is given the chance to be a sassy, stunning and sensuous woman on the big screen. Joan clearly gives it her all and you can understand why. I love it.

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