Friday 4 September 2015

Happy Endings

I think we all agree the Carry On films are mainly pretty joyous things. From Carry On Sergeant in the black and white austerity of 1958 all the way through to the fairly grim mid-1970s sub-Confessions romps, they lighten our lives and take our minds off our worries.

Normally, arguments rage about which is the best film ever in the series. It always provides a wide range of potential candidates but usually a few familiar titles are repeated again and again. I want to ask a different question though. Which Carry On film provides us with the most satisfying, complete happy ending to a caper with the gang?

The way a film ends is key. It should normally tie up all the loose ends of the plot, however Carry Ons were often fairly free of tangible plot lines! They should also leave the audience on a high, with a clear message on what the film was about. From that lingering shot on Hattie Jacques' Matron in Carry On Nurse through to Sid and Babs escaping in the horse drawn carriage in Dick, the endings of Carry On films are usually memorable, but which is the best?

One of my absolute favourite endings is in Carry On Matron. Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams had played Matron and Doctor in several films and since Carry On Doctor there had been the occasional thread of an on/off romance. In what would be the last film in the series with a medical theme, they finally get to walk down the aisle. It's a lovely ending although originally the hypochondriac character Kenneth was playing was due to collapse during the ceremony! I'm glad they didn't stick with that idea!

Another favourite is the end of Carry On Up The Khyber. The British have just been very British as the Khasi and Bungdit Din have bombarded and bombed their dinner party at the residency. All is well as the closing credits role though - the natives are sent away with a flash from the Devils in Skirts and Sir Sidney Ruff Diamond waves away the devastation with the casual remark "We'll clear it all up in the morning". Excellent stuff. The highlight in Khyber for me is Peter Butterworth's dodgy Brother Belcher. He quite rightly gets the last word as the camera pans to a Union Jack displaying the words "I'm backing Britain" - a topical reference at the time. As Peter pulls one of his many faces, he mutters, "You must be mad!" It's a lovely moment highlighting British eccentricity at its finest!

Finally, as it were, my favourite ending of all must be Carry On Abroad. In what was probably the last great film in the series, Sid and Joan are seen running their own pub. It's a gorgeous sight to behold and they look so right together. The pub scenes top and tail the film and the climatic lock in is just perfect. As the holidaymakers cram into Sid's boozer, Kenneth Connor pulls out a bottle of Santa Cecilia's Elixir and all is set for the best night out in film history! It also, rather poignantly gives us the last glimpse of Charles Hawtrey in a Carry On. Classic, cherished memories.

So those are my favourite Carry On endings, what are yours?

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