Friday 4 December 2015

Carry On Hero of the Week: Marianne Stone

The whole idea of this new series of blogs is to flag up specific individuals who, in my humble opinion, really made the Carry On films what they were. So many of the actors and crew turned up at Pinewood again and again, working closely over the years to produce such a fine body of work. This week it's the turn of legendary character actor and regular Carry on supporting player, the magnificent Marianne Stone. 

Marianne Stone appeared in hundreds of classic British films over her long career. Many of her roles were frustratingly brief, blink and you'll miss them cameos but she always had a terrific screen presence which meant she frequently made her mark. This was especially true with her regular appearances in the Carry On films.

Marianne appeared in the Carry Ons on and off for almost their entire lifespan, beginning with Carry On Nurse in 1958 and ending with Carry On Behind in 1975. She became a real fans favourite due to her spirited performances, whether it be as a bolshie inn keeper in Carry On Don't Lose Your Head, a giggling factory worker in At Your Convenience or a cunning old hag in Carry On Dick. She was instantly recognisable and as with many of the best character actresses the Carry Ons employed, her performances often came bouncing out of the screen, full of energy and life.

My own favourite of Marianne's performances is probably that of Maggie, the old crone who passes on vital information about Big Dick's vitals in Carry On Dick. As always, Stone is restricted to a precious few scenes, but she really makes the most of her role opposite Kenneth Williams and Jack Douglas. It's a highlight in an otherwise pretty dismal film. I also love her role as Maud in Convenience. She makes a perfect sidekick for Joan Sims and her involvement in the Brighton scenes is a pure joy.

I've written before about Marianne's long career both in the Carry Ons and in a host of other popular film and television performances, but I still think she deserves to be one of my Carry On Heroes. The Carry On series quite simply would not have been as good as they are or lasted as long as they have without the kind of quality British character actor typified by the late, great Marianne Stone.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan 

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