Tuesday 15 May 2018

Carry On Faces in Different Places: Upstairs and Downstairs

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 the the Gordon Jackson drama, Floodtide. 

I've also looked at the Carry On links with the wonderful film I'm All Right Jack

Recently I blogged about the Billy Fury and Amanda Barrie musical film I've Gotta Horse and the classic 1954 school comedy The Belles of St Trinian's

Today I'm going to blog about the 1959 romantic comedy from the Betty Box and Ralph Thomas stable, Upstairs and Downstairs.

What's it about?

On marrying the boss's daughter, Richard takes his father-in-law's advice to hire a live-in domestic. He soon finds good help is hard to come by. Run-ins follow with dipsomaniacs, bank robbers, a Welsh lass who takes one look at London and runs, and an Italian charmer who turns the place into a bawdy house. Then when Ingrid arrives from Sweden things actually start to get complicated.

Who's in it?

Leading the cast is Rank matinee idol, the great, rather handsome Michael Craig. Michael would soon work for Box and Thomas again in 1960's Doctor In Love. Playing Craig's wife is Anne Heywood and his father in law, reliable Box and Thomas regular James Robertson Justice. 

The supporting cast also features the Italian actress Claudia Cardinale and the French star Mylene Demongeot (who would return to work for Betty Box on Doctor in Distress four years later). 

Carry On Faces?

Carry On leading man Sidney James, soon to make his debut in Carry On Constable, guest stars as local police constable Edwards. Perhaps this was his dry run for the Carry On caper?! Joan Hickson appears as the rather unreliable, drunk cook Rosemary while Carry On favourite Joan Sims plays a Welsh domestic called Blodwen. 

Reliable character actors Cyril Chamberlain and Harry Locke play a train guard and ticket inspector respectively, while you should also look out for a small role for Carry On Regardless actor Nicholas Parsons, who plays Brian. The brilliant, ever wonderful Dilys Laye also pops up playing an Agency Girl, just over three years before she would join the Carry On team.

The scene stealing Irene Handl is given the rather unpleasant character of Large Woman while Carry On Regardless and Spying actor Eric Pohlmann plays Mario. Finally, look out for William Mervyn, playing Kingsley. Mervyn had supporting roles in Follow That Camel and Carry On Henry. 

Did you know?

Apparently Dirk Bogarde, then a regular actor in Betty Box productions, was asked to take on the role of Richard before Michael Craig came on board.

After a series of more expensive, action adventure films, Box was quoted in the press at the time stating that she was much happier being back in the world of comedy pictures.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

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