Tuesday 23 October 2018

Carry On Faces in Different Places: No Kidding

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 , the classic 1954 school comedy The Belles of St Trinian's and the 1959 romantic comedy from the Betty Box and Ralph Thomas stable, Upstairs and Downstairs. You can also check out my blog on the 1956 drama Lost

Today I am going to write about the 1960 British comedy, No Kidding. 

What's it about?
David and Catherine Robinson move into a rundown country house. After a number of failed ventures, they are looking to build a solid business. They strike upon the idea of setting up a summer home for the children of the wealthy. They attract a number of customers, and hire a matron and a cook, and immediately fall foul of a local councillor who does not believe they should be allowed to look after children.
The families arrive and drop off their children. They range from polite, scared and helpful to wild, spoilt, rebellious children led by an American brother and sister, and an English fantasist girl, who tries to insist that she has been maltreated by her in fact kindly family.
As the children grow increasingly ill-disciplined, the staff and owners battle to keep them under control. The father advocates a tough approach while his wife beliefs that the children's freedom should be allowed to flourish. They are undermined by an increasingly drunken cook, and the wild antics of the children.
When the children's families come to collect them, they refuse to come down - wishing they could stay. They insist that in future they are treated better by their parents, to which the parents agree. The children depart. The Robinsons, realising that they have now got financial security, decide to fulfil their dream of having more children of their own.

Who's in it?
The film stars Carry On favourite Leslie Phillips as David Robinson while Geraldine McEwan (who would much later star on television as Miss Marple) plays his wife Catherine. Also appearing in the film are Julia Lockwood as Fenella, Noel Purcell as Tandy and Cyril Raymond as Colonel Matthews.

Carry On Faces?

No Kidding was co-written by Norman Hudis, directed by Gerald Thomas and produced by Peter Rogers, so of course there are plenty of familiar Carry On names in the cast. Leslie Phillips takes the starring role and at the time Leslie had made his first three Carry On appearances in Nurse, Teacher and Constable. Carry On Nurse and Constable cameo actress Irene Handl plays irate local councillor Mrs Spicer while the Matron and cook the Robinson couple hire are played by June Jago and Joan Hickson respectively. June played a nurse in Carry On Regardless and Sister in Doctor six years later. Joan meanwhile co-starred in five Carry Ons - Nurse, Constable, Regardless, Loving and Girls.

Cyril Raymond, best known for playing Celia Johnson's husband in Brief Encounter, went on to play a cameo as an Army Officer in Carry On Regardless. American actor Alan Gifford meanwhile played the Commissioner in 1965's Carry On Cowboy. In No Kidding Alan plays Edgar Treadgold. 

Also look out for Carry On favourite Esma Cannon who plays a district nurse. Esma of course appeared in Carry On Constable, Regardless, Cruising and Cabby. Other Carry On semi-regulars to appear in No Kidding are Brian Oulton as the Vicar, Eric Pohlmann as King and Brian Rawlinson as Will. And Sydney Tafler crops up as Mr Rockbottom! Sydney was also about to pop in for scene with Charles Hawtrey in Carry On Regardless. And a regular face in the first seven Carry Ons, actor Cyril Chamberlain plays a cafe proprietor. 

Did you know?

Well known actress Francesca Annis plays the role of Priscilla in this film. Francesca began acting as a teenager after training at the Corona Academy alongside the likes of Richard O'Sullivan, Larry Dann and Judy Geeson. Annis had even played a school girl in Carry On Teacher, the year before No Kidding went into production.

No Kidding is based on Verily Anderson's 1958 memoir, Beware of the Children. Anderson also co-wrote the screenplay. 

This was the first film on which Alan Hume worked as Director of Photography. Having started in the business as a clapper loader in the early 1940s, Hume had worked his way up to Camera Operator by the time he made Carry On Sergeant in 1958. Alan would go on to work on the majority of the Carry On series, as well as several Bond and Star Wars blockbusters.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

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