Wednesday 28 October 2015

My Favourite Scene: Carry On Doctor

I have been running an occasional series of blogs looking at my favourite scenes in each of the original thirty Carry On films made between 1958 and 1978. Today I am going back to 1967 and a classic of the medical Carry Ons, Carry on Doctor.

Doctor featured a stunning cast of regular Carry On stars, reintroduced Hattie Jacques and Barbara Windsor to the mix after long absences and provided us with a glorious starring role for Frankie Howerd as the bogus faith healer, Francis Bigger. The film also sees the Carry On action hero Jim Dale reach his creative peak in the series. This was the last film Jim made before his final original role two years later in Again Doctor. As Dr Kilmore, he is firing on all cylinders and also benefits from great chemistry with his co-star, the lovely Anita Harris.

Dr Kilmore is involved in many scrapes throughout the film, crashing into trolleys, breaking equipment and delivering injections in a most unusual fashion! Kenneth Williams and Hattie Jacques as Dr Tinkle and Matron are keen to get rid of Kilmore and his roof top drama half way through the film provides their perfect excuse. It is also my favourite scene in the film.

Gerald Thomas directs a brilliant sequence here, full of built up tension and Dutch angles. Jim, believing Nurse May (Barbara Windsor) is going to jump off the roof of the nurses home, rushes across the road with Nurse Clark (Anita Harris) to persuade Sandra not to do away with herself. Unfortunately, all Sandra wants is a bit of afternoon sunbathing and the appearance of Dr Kilmore on the roof sends her into a frenzy of accusations that he is nothing more than a peeping tom! 

What follows is genius. Jim loses his footing on the roof and stumbles about all over the place, finally climbing up Nurse Clark's skirt! What may look relatively straightforward actually demonstrates just what a gifted actor JIm Dale was (and is). His comic physicality in these scenes is just sublime. He eventually finds his way off the roof and slap bang into a bubble bath complete with naked, and rather unsuspecting nurse! 

It is classic Carry On and showcases the talents of both Gerald Thomas and Jim Dale perfectly.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan 

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