Sunday 5 July 2015

My Favourite Scene: Carry On Nurse!

I have been blogging an occasional series focusing on what I consider to be my favourite scenes in each of the thirty one Carry On films made. It's a tough challenge to set myself, particularly when I reach the films I'm rather less than keen on! Anyway, so far I've blogged about Sergeant, Regardless, Camping, Loving, Convenience and Abroad.

Today I am going to write about my favourite scene in Carry On Nurse. It's one of the very early Carry Ons but it made it into my top ten favourites in the series and I love it. It really did set the tone for the rest of the series and very much enabled a series to come about. My favourite scene in Nurse is probably a very common fan favourite. Yes, it's the scene at the end of the film when Kenneth Williams and co attempt to rather drunkenly operate on Leslie Phillips' troublesome bunion!

It's quite simply just a beautifully acted, beautifully shot scene of pure cinematic farce. It features some classic comedy actors all at the top of their game. It cements the popularity of the likes of Kenneths Williams and Connor and ensures that medical-themed Carry Ons would be a recurring feature over the next twenty years.

Although it's undoubtedly a very male dominated scene, it is pretty hard to fault otherwise. At the heart of the scene is a wonderfully manic, nostril-flaring performance from Kenneth Williams. Kenneth gives one of his best acting performances in Carry On Nurse, before the full flamboyance of later roles took over. He shares some quite touching, sensitive scenes earlier in the film with the gorgeous Jill Ireland. The operating theatre scene though is classic Kenneth! His maniacal laugh as the laughing gas takes hold is just priceless!

Kenneth Connor is also hilarious as boxer Bernie Bishop. Kenneth's infectious giggle as the gas overcomes them all is a thing of beauty! As usual, Connor's comic timing is second to none. Leslie Phillips also does well as the reluctant patient, playing the difficult role of straight man while the rest clown around. We also get memorable supporting turns in the scene from semi-regular actors Terence Longdon and Cyril Chamberlain, while an ongoing aside sees Bill Owen stuck on the ward, desperate to go somewhere while Charles Hawtrey plays out the first in a long line of Carry On drag sequences.

It's a scene that has gone down in Carry On history and makes me hoot with laughter every time I watch it.

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