Monday 11 December 2017

Enjoy a Classic Carry On next week on Channel 4!

Well so far a couple of my Carry On Christmas Wishes  have come true. Not only have ITV3 decided to broadcast Carry Ons all day on Christmas Day but now Channel 4 are getting in on the act by showing a classic Anglo-Amalgamated Carry On every week day afternoon from 18 December!

So let's take a look at which films 4 are showing so you can set you telly box to record all this Carry On goodness:

18 December, 12.20pm - Carry On Cleo (1964)

Surely one of the best ever films in the entire series, this send up of the big budget Hollywood Cleopatra movie featured particularly lush costumes and sets mainly because the Elizabeth Taylor epic left loads of gear behind when they left Buckinghamshire for a sunnier climate in 1963. Cleo boasts a stunning star turn from Amanda Barrie as the dippy, rather camp Cleopatra who spends most of her time up to her neck in asses' milk. Also along for the ride are Sid James as a very Hancockian Mark Anthony and Kenneth Williams as the definitive comic Julius Caesar. For me though, one of the stand outs is Kenneth Connor as the beautifully judged timid slave, Hengist Pod, inventor of the square wheel. Charles Hawtrey, Jim Dale and Joan Sims provide peerless support.

Further reading - Carry On Blogging Interview: Amanda Barrie 
Carry On Blogging: Five Reasons Why I Love Carry On Cleo 

19 December, 12.20pm - Carry On Cabby (1963)

My own personal favourite from the entire run of films, this black and white kitchen sink Carry On classic was released in 1963. Originally not even destined to be part of the series, Call Me A Cab was quickly rebranded Carry On Cabby when Peter Rogers realised what a hit he had on his hands. A grittier script than usual, this one really does tug at the heart strings while also raising a smile or two. The first script from prolific writer Talbot Rothwell, the story revolves around the frustrated wife of a rather traditional male taxi firm owner who gets her own back on her neglectful husband by setting up a rival business. The difference is Glam Cabs only employs glamorous female drivers! The central performances of Hattie Jacques and Sid James as warring couple Charlie and Peggy Hawkins are the heart and soul of the film with a small but compact cast of supporting actors which include reliable turns from Kenneth Connor, Liz Fraser, Esma Cannon and Charles Hawtrey. Also look out for future Carry On leading man Jim Dale in his series debut as an expectant father and Cleo star Amanda Barrie as Glam Cab driver Anthea.

Further reading -  Carry On Blogging: Hattie Carries On as Peggy Hawkins
Carry On Blogging: My Favourite Scene in Carry On Cabby
Carry On Blogging: My Favourite Carry On

20 December, 12.25pm - Carry On Nurse (1959)

Following hot on the heals of the surprise film hit of 1958, Carry On Sergeant, Rogers and Thomas launched into the production of Carry On Nurse, a medical-themed sequel. The overwhelming success of Nurse, particularly in America, undoubtedly laid the groundwork for a series to take shape, so us fans must always be grateful to this film. Added to that, it's also a classic! Norman Hudis again pitches the everyman against authority and this time its the first outing for Hattie Jacques' severe Matron. The male patients in the hospital ward are brought to life by a collection of wonderful actors including Kenneths Williams and Connor, Charles Hawtrey, Terence Longdon, Bill Owen, Cyril Chamberlain and Leslie Phillips. The film licks along at a cracking pace and blends social comment with slapstick, brilliant set pieces and moments of real pathos. The large supporting cast includes a debuting Joan Sims, Joan Hickson, Irene Handl, June Whitfield and Michael Medwin. And of course there's that infamous daffodil...

Further reading - Carry On Blogging: Hattie Carries On As Matron 
Carry On Blogging Interview: Christine Ozanne

21 December, 12.25pm - Carry On Constable (1960)

Another glorious black and white feature, this film yet again plays to Norman Hudis' strengths by focusing on another British institution, the police force. There's the figure of authority pitched against a group of bumbling incompetents too as new recruits battle to success during a flu epidemic at the local station. This film marks a major turning point for the Carry Ons as it sees the debut of a certain Mr Sidney James in the starring role of Frank Wilkins. It's a fairly low key entrance for Sid, given what was to come but it's a superb performance and it's clear he's firmly in charge! Eric Barker returns for the first time since Sergeant, playing a similar officious role while the new recruits are played with relish by Leslie Phillips, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Williams and Kenneth Connor. Throw in some lovely supporting turns from Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques and a cameo from original Carry On girl Shirley Eaton and you have a great afternoon matinee film to enjoy!

Further reading - Carry On Blogging: Connor Carries On as Constable Constable!

22 December, 12.25pm - Carry On Spying (1964)

One of the most under-rated films in the series, Carry On Spying is the last black and white film in the run and a glorious spoof of all things James Bond with plenty of The Third Man thrown in for good measure. I've loved it since I was a child and although many key players are missing, those present put in sparkling performances. The British agents, as usual pretty bumbling, are sent off on a mission to recapture a secret formula from a subversive organisation known as STENCH. Kenneth Williams grabs the starring role in the absence of Sid James, and is ably supported by Bernard Cribbins, back after his debut in Jack, Charles Hawtrey and a new Carry On face in Barbara Windsor. Barbara gives what I think is her finest performance in Spying, it's sweet and bright and deliciously funny. Lovely support comes from Eric Barker and Richard Wattis as two rather inept Whitehall bods while Dilys Laye looks stunning as an enemy agent who keeps switching sides, seduces Kenneth Williams and belts out some gorgeous nightclub tunes to boot!

Further reading - Carry On Blogging: In Praise of Carry On Spying

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