Monday, 6 May 2019

Carrying On… On a Weekend with Lulu

The other day I caught the start of a rather rarely screened British comedy from the early 1960s. Featuring a cast bursting with well loved comedy people, A Weekend WIth Lulu is a film I've heard of before but never seen. Despite the array of talent on display and the obvious fact the film's producers were capitalising on the rise of the Carry On phenomenon, I didn't warm to Lulu or take that much of an interest on their collective weekend! Never mind, can't win 'em all...

What's it about?

Young couple Timothy and Deirdre plan a romantic weekend on the coast in pal Fred's ice cream van and towed caravan, affectionately called "Lulu." When Deirdre's mother insists on coming along as her daughter's chaperone, Timothy's plans are somewhat compromised. A ferry boat mix-up further complicates things, and lands the holidaymakers in France where they encounter a variety of irate Frenchmen.

Carry On Faces?

The film capitalises on the recent success of the fledgling Carry On series by casting several instantly recognisable faces from that franchise in leading and guest roles. Original Carry On leading man Bob Monkhouse, who played Charlie Sage in Sergeant, leads the cast as Fred Scrutton, a kind of wide boy Teddy Boy character. Leslie Phillips, at the time fresh from a run of three Carry Ons (Nurse, Teacher, Constable), plays a more relaxed version of his usual toffee-nosed letch with his eye on some alone time with girlfriend Deirdre, played by none other than Shirley Eaton, the original Carry On blonde.

Playing Shirley's mother in the film is the inimitable Irene Handl, who seemed to be in every comedy film of the era. The film also boasts three prominent guest stars, two of whom were leading men in the Carry Ons at this time. Of course they are none other than Sid James as a Cafe Patron and Kenneth Connor as a British Tourist. The third is the superb actor Sydney Tafler, who had recently filmed a cameo in the fifth Carry On to go into production, Carry On Regardless.

Also look out for two other familiar supporting actors from the Carry Ons - Denis Shaw, here playing a Bar Patron and Judith Furse, better known as Doctor Crow in Carry On Spying. Furse turns up as a character named Madame Bon-Bon!

Did You Know?

The film was produced by Hammer Films, better known for their long run of horror features.

John Paddy Carstairs was the director - a man better known for his association with Norman Wisdom's film comedies.

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and on Instagram 


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