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This is a great Carry On. The unemployed group together (under Sid James aka Mr Handy) to provide 'services' to various people for a fee. Special treat is Stanley Unwin who is desperately trying to warn them of their impending eviction, but due to his gobbldygook language, they don't understand. Until Kenneth Williams (an equally skilled orator) comes to the rescue. Best bit definitely Kenneth Connor in the Gentlemans club. Almost as good - Kenneth Williams walking the Chimp, Kenneth Williams interpreting for the German Woman, Kenneth Connor and Joan Simms (No sweets, no draws), Stanley Unwin all the time, Charles Hawtrey boxing ..... no, there's too many good bits to recount.
With work sparse in England, the labour exchanges have become almost a
social club with so many men hanging around without joy. It is in this
environment that Bert Handy spots an opening for a firm carrying out
any odd-jobs on request and thus the "Helping Hands Agency" is born.
Recruiting a gang of odds and sods, Bert quickly finds that there are
all manner of jobs out there to be done that don't fit anywhere.
However can his men all cope with the sheer range of jobs thrown at
them? About 10 minutes into this film I started to realise that this
had no plot. At regular intervals from then on this view was reinforced
as the film just became a series of sketches using the odd-job company
as a frame for setting each one up. This sounds like a criticism
because it is but surprisingly it was not a real problem because the
sketches are mostly pretty funny and the amusement they make up for the
total lack of any actual narrative drive. The sketches mostly stand
alone but are not that contrived or forced only the mixed up jobs
part is a little forced; the wine tasting, the translated argument, the
home improvement show and others are all consistently amusing even if
none of them had me rolling in the aisles.
The cast all take to the sketch format with their comedy background. James has the least role since he has to act as the glue holding the funny bits together but he does get some laughs and he is rarely less than interesting and amusing. Connor, Williams and Hawtrey all do the characters they had done in the previous four films all of them are funny and they do well in their various sketches. Owen joins the male cast in a minor role while Sims and Fraser are stuck with "pretty young girl" roles which minimise their comic impact a little bit. Support from Jacques, Hickson, Cannon, Alexander and others is good and they make the film feel fuller than it would have done with only the main roles filled with well known faces.
Overall on the surface of things this is a plot less mess that has no rhyme or reason to it; however it does set up a series of sketches that are mostly pretty amusing. It won't be remember as fondly as the later Carry On films that produced laughs with a fuller plot and costumes but it is still an enjoyable film that shows how good the group were as comics. Not quite what you think of when you think Carry On but an entertaining collection of sketches nonetheless.
The film centred around The Helping Hands business is full of laughs.Favourite sketch is Sam Twist (Kenneth Connor) in the club as steward and is told not to make a sound.You can't help but laugh as he gradually loses the plot when he sees an old man's fly undone on his trousers,an old man falling asleep reading a book and an old man sleeping as his wig slips down over his face.Top notch.A film (like all Carry On films)that I never get sick of watching with all the early Carry On regulars present.Typlical Carry On gags and double-entendre with the campness of Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Williams always guaranteed to make me laugh.
For their fifth venture, the usual "Carry On" suspects (Sidney James,
Kenneth Connor, Charles Hawtrey. Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims and Hattie
Jacques) are joined by other irregular members (Fenella Fielding, Liz
Fraser, Esma Cannon, Terence Longdon, Bill Owen, David Lodge and Norman
Rossington) and some surprising cameos (Stanley Unwin, Jerry Desmonde,
Kynaston Reeves, Howard Marion Crawford and Patrick Cargill) in a
frequently hilarious but ultimately patchy and disjointed romp.
James' Bert Handy heads "Helping Hands", a well-meaning but hopelessly incompetent firm providing any services the customer may require: and, so it is that James is asked by an eccentric millionaire to take his place in the queue at a hospital's waiting room and is consequently mistaken for him and waited on by the matron (Jacques, naturally); Connor is in top form here: ostensibly hired as a babysitter, he finds himself acting as Fielding's lover to arouse her neglectful husband, being a librarian driven to hysterics when attempting to observe a public library's rule of silence, getting himself all wet when, completely misunderstanding a client's request, he engages in some Hitchcockian espionage aboard a train full of sinister passengers, getting engulfed by the "Bed of the Century" when attending an Ideal Home exhibition and, best of all perhaps, going "cold turkey" after his sixth attempt to stop smoking; Sims also has a memorable bit when she ends up drunk at a wine-tasting event and makes a shambles of the place to the chagrin of organizer Crawford; Hawtrey goes into the ring against a massive opponent when, acting as his second, he inadvertently injures the challenger!; Williams enjoys a tea party with a group of chimps at the zoo, etc.
The finale shows Cannon's infallible filing system going bonkers with each member of the group being sent out on the wrong assignment and, afterwards, the whole gang join forces in demolishing a dilapidated building even if their original task was merely to clean it up a bit! In a notable appearance, celebrated comedian Stanley Unwin speaks his trademark nonsense language and drives the entire crew to distraction during his intermittent visits to their office before multi-linguist Williams manages to explain that he is their landlord and is about to throw them out!
As one can make out, there are several funny bits in this film but it is also evident that its inherently episodic structure (which entails that some of the gang members are given precedence over others) fails to coalesce into a cohesive and completely satisfying whole.
This film is definitely in the top three of Carry On films.
Alongside the early line-up of usual players - Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Connor and Sid James - this film is notable for its host of cameo roles by other comedy greats. Some, such as Hattie Jacques and Fenella Fielding, had greater prominence in other Carry On films. Some, such as Betty Marsden, became famous elsewhere in comedy. Further familiar faces in cameo roles here include Molly Weir, Terence Alexander, Joan Hickson and Nicholas Parsons.
The five main actors listed above are ably assisted by Liz Frazer, Bill Owen, Esma Cannon, Terence Longdon and Stanley Unwin, all united around an agency that aims to help customers in whatever way they can. Hence the great range of cameo roles available.
Joan Sims performs one of her greatest drunk roles; Kenneth Connor does his best tongue-tied shy man, both in the company of temptress Fenella Fielding and when he's attempting to give up smoking; Charles Hawtrey wins a boxing match; and Kenneth Williams gets to walk a very unusual pet.
The humour in this film is far superior to the sex and toilet jokes that later filled (and possibly destroyed) this great series of films. This is a film that the family can watch time and time again.
Despite their being much decried at the time of their release, the Carry on Films are, and will become even more so with time, an integral part of English Comedy Culture. Most of the protagonists of these films are as of today, dead, and nothing as side-splitting has unfortunately come to replace them. They are films you can watch over and over again, when you are feeling down in the mouth, even when you know the stories. In France, the equivalent is called ' L'Equipe du Splendide " who made films of the "Les Bronzés" series during the seventies, but their output was far less prolific and the protagonists are still alive today as far as I know. As for the carry-ons, there are so many of them, that one is never short of a good laugh, and today, there is none of the good light hearted humour of those fifties and sixties. Unfortunately, the late twentieth century plague called "political correctness" has seen to that and what a shame it is too ! Carry on regardless is one of the funniest carry-ons, unfortunately in Black and White, but with the added attraction of Stanley Unwin speaking "gobbledygook" (charabia) and this had me reeling in fits of laughter. Mind you, I'd already seen Stanley several times on English TV years ago but I can't remember in what context. Anyway, carry on watching ..............they're nearly all now available on DVD for about £10 or 15 !!!
This Carry On does not seem to have a story line- it is more of a series of sketches linked together only by "Helping Hands". However this is a good one, NOT quite what the tagline suggests, but a good one. Most of the main stars (to date) are here, and they all get their own sketches. My fav being the Kenneth Williams/Chimp one (But this could be because KW is the best "Carry On-er"!). Other highlights are the Joan Sims' sketch at a wine tasting party and the end scene whare all the gang demolish a house. Apart from Stanley Unwin (I can't stand the way he talks) this is a good-un.
This "Carry on" as other writers have noted has no plot but that does not detract at all from enjoying it because its like a series of delightfully funny sketches. Lets face it plot was never very important in this series any way. The sketches are fun. Some of course are more successful than others but there are moments in this Carry on that are simply priceless. One problem is the usual weak link in the series, Kenneth Connor. The producers must have been very fond of him because he is always given more to do than the others. The 39 steps send up is dull. He annoys me. It is not that he is a bad actor, far from it its that the characters he played do not hold up today. He is not quite as annoying as I usually found him and his scene with the great Finella Fielding is a joy. This wonderful actress graced the screen when ever we saw her. I wonder if she always played this character because she did it to perfection. What a brilliant actress! There are plenty of other great performers in this movie. Australians will recognise June Jago a small role and the great Ed Devereaux in an all all too short appearance as an insanely jealous husband. Of course the more one reads about the great Charles Hawtrey makes one wonder what was really going on in his mind in that scene with the incredibly cute boxer who strains his finger. Hawtrey is in great form here. Kenneth Williams is brilliant and he gives one of his best. The chimp scene is lovely and that little animal gives a great performance too. I hope there was no cruelty to the beautiful creature, one worries about these early films. Sid James is nicely restrained. Fine old actors like Esma Cannon and Joan Hickson are as always brilliant and although Hatti Jaques only has a small role, she lifts the film as always. The Joan Sims drunk scene is a master piece. She was always a winner. The scene when we are meant to be convinced she is fat does not work. I find her very attractive. This is one of her very best. The best performance comes from gobbledegook talker Stanley Unwin. I don't know how he does it but I have not laughed so much in a while. Esma Cannon's reaction to him are hilarious. A fun movie. For me it gets an 8.I must say it is Unwin who steals the film... remarkable and what an incredible gift. I cannot do it nor can many people.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This fifth film in the popular British series of alluring comedy films is probably the only one that doesn't really have a storyline, but the theme is a good hook. Basically a variety of characters are complaining that all jobs that are advertised are boring, and the ones they are interested in disappear. Then they are brought to the Helping Hands agency, run by Bert Handy (Sid James), a new enterprise that specialises in helping people in any kind of odd jobs, these jobs aren't just odd, they're strange in most cases. So Sam Twist (Kenneth Connor) is contacted to be a babysitter for Penny Panting (Fenella Fielding) who really wants company and then to make her husband jealous, Francis Courtenay (Kenneth Williams) is looking after a pet chimpanzee for a woman with flu, and Lily Duveen (Joan Sims) is taking invitation cards for a wine tasting evening which she boozes in. Bert gets himself into a job himself as well, when Sir Theodore (Kynaston Reeves) wants him to take his place in a hospital queue, but he ends up being mistaken for him not as a patient but an inspector, looking over the wards, and some new nurses in their underwear and bras. Francis gets two more jobs, first modelling in a bee-keepers helmet, and then with his knowledge of languages translating for a bickering couple with the wife being German, while Sam is desperate to quit smoking, but can't, oh and Gabriel Dimple (Charles Hawtrey) is helping out at a boxing match, and he ends up being the opponent in the ring when he is insulted, and he wins. Next Sam is over the moon when he thinks he has found a job as a top secret spy, he believes he is expected at the Forth Bridge in Scotland, but it was a mix up and he was actually meant to play the card game bridge. When he returns all the new employees of Helping Hands are teaming up to demonstrate some new products for the Ideal House exhibition, of course this doesn't go well as mishaps ensue while trying to work everything. The final scene sees Bert joining all his employees as they make what might be a last attempt to impress a high paying gibberish talking customer, repairing an old mansion falling apart, but in the end the guy changes his mind allows them to carry on regardless. Also starring Liz Fraser as Delia King, Bill Owen as Mike Weston, Hattie Jacques as Sister, Terence Longdon as Montgomery Infield-Hopping, Joan Hickson as Matron, Esma Cannon as Miss Cooling and Stanley Unwin as Landlord. The cast as usual make you laugh with their enjoyable individual characters, the film is filled with the usual double meaning dialogue, the saucy stuff, a little innuendo, and some slapstick that will certainly make you chuckle, a fun comedy. Carry On films were number 39 on The 100 Greatest Pop Culture Icons. Good!
This is the one with the gang working for the "Helping Hands" agency, a
business run by Sid James that matches up it's employees to the
various, and highly varied, needs of it's customers.
Everyone is present and correct and giving it their usual patter: Kenneth Williams is indignant, Charles Hawtrey is absurdly effete and ends up being given some very unsuitable assignments, Joan Sims does some wonderful drunk acting, Kenneth Connor gets things muddled up and Sid James rolls his eyes as things get chaotic around him. Hattie Jacques appears to look momentarily affronted, Liz Fraser has a couple of funny moments and Terence Longdon is there for no discernible reason, he does nothing of note and his character may as well not be there at all.
With appearances from Freddie Mills, Fenella Fielding, a young Nicholas Parsons and Stanley Unwin (a man famed for speaking his own particular brand of gibberish, and someone I cannot stand myself), this instalment in the successful franchise moves along nicely. While still a relatively tame outing, there are a few more risqué moments that would blossom into the material that the series became best known for in later years but it's still all rather naive and harmless for the most part.
With Gerald Thomas directing once again, and the gang all comfortable with their established tics, this is a fun watch for fans of the series if nothing particularly memorable.
See this if you like: Carry On Sergeant, Carry On Nurse, Carry On Constable.
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