Thursday 4 October 2018

Carry On Faces in Different Places: The Green Man

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 1956 black comedy, The Green Man. 

What's it about?
Freelance assassin Hawkins is contracted to blow up Sir Gregory Upshott, a prominent and pompous London businessman. By courting Upshott's spinster secretary, he learns that his target will be taking one of the firm's typists for a weekend at a seaside hotel, the Green Man. Hawkins hides a bomb in a radio, which he plans to leave in the hotel lounge. Finding out his treachery, the secretary comes to his house to confront him but is attacked and left for dead by Hawkin's assistant who, as nobody is in, hides the body next door. 
The body is found by a young vacuum cleaner salesman called Blake who calls there, and he alerts the owner's pretty fiancée Ann. The two are terrified, and when the owner comes home he finds them hiding under the bed. He storms out, but coming back to pick up something he forgot finds Ann on the floor in her underwear, again innocently entangled with Blake. His furious exit creates doubt over the future relationship. Blake and Ann then face another moment of horror as the corpse comes to life and, before collapsing again, tells them Upshott will be blown up that night in the Green Man.
Not knowing what Upshott looks like or what name he will register under, the pair rush there and, obstructed at every turn by the landlord, try to evacuate the place and locate the bomb. Blake has the brainwave that it will be on a timer in the radio, which he throws into the sea seconds before it explodes. Driving back to London, he stops and the two share their first kiss.

Who's in it?
The Green Man stars the terrific trio of Alastair Sim (Hawkins), George Cole (William Blake) and Terry-Thomas (Charles Boughtflower). It really doesn't get better than that! Sim and Cole had worked together many times before, probably most famously in the St Trinian's films. 

Also look out for great performances from Raymond Huntley as Sir Gregory Upshott, Avril Angers as Marigold and Colin Gordon as Reginald Willoughby-Cruft.

Carry On Faces?

Several! The delightful Jill Adams grabs a major supporting role as Ann Vincent. Jill went on to play W.P.C Harrison in Carry On Constable and also popped up in a couple of the Doctor film comedies. The one and only Dora Bryan adds comedy class as Lily at the Green Man Hotel. Two years later Dora would star as Norah in the very first Carry On, Carry On Sergeant.

Quite a few Carry On supporting players also make appearances in the film. Cyril Chamberlain, a regular in the first seven Carry Ons, plays Police Sergeant Bassett who engages in a rather prolonged game of chess with Sim's Hawkins. Carry On Spying actor Richard Wattis pops up paling a Doctor while Willoughby Goddard, seen as a passenger in Carry On Cruising, here plays a Statesman. 

Also, look out for familiar Carry On face Lucy Griffiths (Nurse, Regardless, Doctor, Again Doctor, Behind) as one of the musicians at The Green Man, Annabel.

Did you know?

Future Coronation Street and Dad's Army legend Arthur Lowe makes a small, almost unrecognisable appearance early on in the film as a radio salesman. 

Eileen Moore, playing Sir Gregory's weekend companion Joan, was at the time of filming married to one of the stars of the film, George Cole.

Another future sitcom great, Arthur Brough, appears as the Landlord of The Green Man. Arthur went on to play Mr Grainger in the long running BBC department store comedy, Are You Being Served?

Future Bergerac star (and Carry On Regardless cameo actor) Terence Alexander has a small, uncredited role as a radio announcer.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram

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