Sergeant Grimshaw wants to retire in the flush of success by winning the Star Squad prize with his very last platoon of newly called-up National Servicemen. But what a motley bunch they ... See full summary »
Sergeant Grimshaw wants to retire in the flush of success by winning the Star Squad prize with his very last platoon of newly called-up National Servicemen. But what a motley bunch they turn out to be, and it's up to Grimshaw to put the no-hopers through their paces. Written by
Simon N. McIntosh-Smith <Simon.N.Smith@cs.cf.ac.uk>
When Captain Potts pins the chart to the training progress board, the board has the intake as No.29 but when the prize giving is announced near the end of the film it is announced as the prize giving for the 60th intake See more »
[During bayonet practice:]
Don't you think this is a trifle out of date in a world bristling with H-Bombs, Sergeant?
[Golightly charges, only to get caught up in the hanging sack]
Private Bailey, in answer to your question, I'd back him against the H-Bomb any day!
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A light but amusing affair that is never hilarious but is free of the crash crudity that the series later revelled in
Approaching retirement, Sergeant Grimshawe wants to go out on a high of sorts and agrees to a bet that he can train his squad of new recruits to win the Star Squad prize. Sadly for him he had not reckoned on the hand that fate would deal him with a terrible motley crew. His squad includes hypochondriac Horace Strong, newly wed Charlie Sage, stuck up James Bailey and the, well, light-footed Peter Golightly. Can he turn them into the platoon of his career using the softly softly approach of will they just be a pathetic shower.
Now I'm not sure if the series of films was always going to be "Carry On" or if it just seemed a good link from this film, which uses the line "carry on Sergeant" several times that may be the source of the title or it may have been as a result of the title; chicken or egg to me I'm afraid. Either way this is the first of what we now know to be the long running series of British humour that was Carry On and, as a starting point it is amusing and lightly enjoyable as it lacks the crude excesses of the later films. Here the plot is simple there are a load of new recruits and they are all useless and fall around a lot to the dismay of their platoon sergeant. The jokes are all fairly obvious and none of them ever made me laugh out loud even if they just about did enough to keep me amused. Fans of the series will notice some aspects missing from the usual Carry On mix but for my money the things that were missing in terms of tone were not too badly missed.
With a more "normal" approach from the film (very much of its time) the cast have less excessive touches to their character but they still do well with what they have. Monkhouse is a surprising straightman, driving the main narrative but he is still pretty good. The regulars are all enjoyable with lower-key performances than we would get later. Kenneth Williams is nicely restrained but isn't as funny as he was later on; Kenneth Moore is very funny with his character and Charles Hawtrey does his usual stuff to good effect. Hartnell adds a sense of class to the film and people like Jacques and Scott are effective.
Overall, fans of the series might not like this more restrained opener but it is light and amusing fare if you're in the mood and as long as you don't expect too many belly laughs. Fun in a low-key sort of way surprising considering the direction the series then took.
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