Friday 24 July 2015

My Favourite Scene: Carry On Emmannuelle

I have been running an occasional series of blogs which focus on my favourite scene in each of the original thirty Carry On films produced between 1958 and 1978. Today I'm facing up to the grim reality and writing about my favourite scene in Carry On Emmannuelle.

Carry On Emmannuelle is quite simply a dreadful film. It should never have been made. It wastes the talents of Kenneth Williams, Joan SIms, Kenneth Connor and Peter Butterworth. Quite strangely, it provides us with Jack Douglas' best performance in the series and also brings us a fairly self-assured starring role from the then inexperienced and very young Suzanne Danielle. We also get a gem of a cameo from the late great Beryl Reid, who is completely out of place with all that is happening around her.

Emmannuelle is an attempt to cash in on the continuing trend at the time for soft porn in mainstream cinema. It is also the continuation and last gasp attempt to keep pace with the more explicit Confessions series of comedy films, although they actually came to an end the year before Emmannuelle was released. I have only been able to sit through Emmannuelle once or twice which shows how woeful I think it is. Picking my favourite scene is therefore quite a challenge.

In the end I have gone for my favourite Carry On actress, Joan Sims. I really wish Joan had turned this one down. She had been loyal to the Carry On films for twenty years by this stage and was still busy in other areas of the acting profession, so surely she didn't really need to make this one? She can't have been comfortable with the material. However, we do have Joan to thank for one of the best, if brief sequences in the entire film. The main cast (Williams, Sims, Butterworth, Connor and Douglas) sit round a table and reminisce about their favourite amorous experiences. While most of them can be swiftly moved on from, Sims' flashback section is actually quite touching.

It features her character, Mrs Dangle, in a wordless romantic exchange in a launderette with a stranger, played by experienced Carry On supporting actor Victor Maddern. It has a touch of Brief Encounter to it, although that should probably be Briefs Encounter given the amount of laundry the pair tease each other with while the stripper theme plays in the background. Although it is hardly classic Carry On material, it somehow manages to rise above the dreadful script and prove to be a touching, gentle scene amidst a sea of low grade filth.

So there you go, the best two minutes from an otherwise dreadful last ditch attempt to keep the Carry Ons alive. God bless you Joanie!

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