Friday 2 February 2018

Carry On Faces in Different Places: Make Mine Mink

Here we go with another in my series of blogs looking at some of the cream of British comedy film making from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Although this blog is all about the Carry Ons, believe it or not, there were some other joyous comedy films made away from Peter Rogers Productions. However, given the quality of the actors Peter employed to make his series, it's no wonder that most of them popped up elsewhere.

So far I've looked at the wonderful 1959 crime caper Too Many Crooks , the 1954 domestic comedy starring Dirk Bogarde, For Better For Worse , the big screen spin off Please Sir! and the wonderful Up Pompeii and the brilliant John Gregson and Diana Dors vehicle, Value for Money.
More recently I blogged about the Sid James and Kenneth Connor comedy horror What A Carve Up! and just last week I blogged about the Gordon Jackson drama, Floodtide

Today I'm going to blog about the 1960 comedy film, Make Mine Mink.


Who's in it?

Make Mine Mink is a 1960 British comedy farce film directed by Robert Asher and featuring Terry-Thomas, Athene Seyler, Hattie Jacques and Billie Whitelaw. The screenplay concerns a group of eccentric misfits who go on a spree, stealing mink coats for charity in a Robin Hood-style gang. It was based on the play Breath of Spring by Peter Coke, and its sequels. Seyer and Elspeth Duxbury reprised their stage roles from the London production of Breath of Spring.

Carry On Faces?

Quite a few! Hattie Jacques grabs a leading role opposite Terry-Thomas and Athene Seyler, playing Nanette Parry. 

Carry On Nurse and Constable cameo player Irene Handl plays the part of Madame Spolinski, while Carry On Regardless actor Sydney Tafler also pops up as Mr Spanager. There is a small, uncredited role for Dorinda Stevens, who played the part of a scantily clad young woman opposite Kenneth Connor in Carry On Constable and one of the girls at Dirty Dicks in Carry On Jack.

And of course Carry On legend Kenneth Williams appears as the Hon. Freddie Warrington. 

Three other actors who also went on to work for Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas on the film Nurse On Wheels, appear in this film: the great Irish actor Noel Purcell, leading lady Athene Seyler and reliable character actor Raymond Huntley. 


What's it about?

A group of lodgers - Major Rayne, Nanette ("Nan") and "Pinkie" Pinkerton - staying at the Kensington apartment of Dame Beatrice, an elderly philanthropist, are bored with their humdrum, restricted lives. Lily, Dame Bea's beautiful, young housekeeper, overhears an argument between their neighbours, the Spanagers. When Mrs. Spanager rejects her husband's gift of a mink coat due to his lies about his business trip, he pretends to throw the coat off their balcony, but actually just hides it. Lily snags it and gives it to her employer to show her gratitude for hiring her despite her criminal record. Dame Beatrice is at first delighted, but then assumes Lily has stolen it. She and the lodgers concoct a scheme to return the fur coat before its owners realize its absence. Despite several comical mishaps, the gang manage to do so using a plan drawn up by the retired Major. The four are so exhilarated by their escapade that they decide to steal more furs, with all the proceeds going to charity.

Did you know?

The part of Lily Thompson (Billie Whitelaw in the film) was originally played in the stage production of Breath of Spring by none other than Joan Sims. Perhaps Joan was too busy to appear in Make Mine Mink? Joan had played the role of Lily in the BBC television production of the play, which had been broadcast direct from the Cambridge Theatre on 29 April 1958. Athene Seyler, who starred in both productions, became a good friend to Joan and you can read more about that here

Actress Penny Morrell, who played Gertrude in the film, was married for many years to the actor George Cole, best remembered for his role as Arthur Daley in Minder and for the St Trinian's films, in which he played Flash Harry.

Dorinda Stevens has a small, uncredited role as Jean in the film. Apparently she was briefly married to the Jason King star, the late Peter Wyngarde, in the early 1950s.  


You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan on Facebook and on Instagram

No comments:

Post a Comment