Bertram Oliphant West (also known as Bo West) wants to clear his unjustly smeared reputation. He joins the Foreign Legion, with Simpson his manservant in tow. But the fort they get posted to is full of eccentric legionnaires, and there is trouble brewing with the locals too. Unbeknown to Bo, his lady love has followed him in disguise... Written by
Simon N. McIntosh-Smith <Simon.N.Smith@cs.cf.ac.uk>
I wasn't really expecting much out of this "Carry On" spoof on Foreign Legion films but it turned out to be a highly agreeable entry in the long-running series. Unusually for them, the film-makers went for an American lead in the person of Phil Silvers then again, his Sgt. Nocker here was directly inspired by the latter's popular Sgt. Bilko characterization (which originated on TV); actually, the clash of comedy styles works surprisingly well here.
Most of the series stalwarts are on hand Kenneth Williams as German fort commandant Burger (with matching short hair); Charles Hawtrey as Captain Le Pice(!); Jim Dale as Beau West(!), a dishonored Englishman who joins the legion (accompanied by loyal valet Peter Butterworth) after losing girlfriend Angela Douglas; Bernard Bresslaw has one of his best roles as the flamboyant villainous sheik; and Joan Sims is Madam Zigzig, hostess of the local tavern. Anita Harris also makes an impression as a sultry belly-dancer.
Apart from the traditional desert-march-fraught-with-mirages sequence, there are a couple of delightful running gags here the naïve Douglas (who decides to stick with Dale) is taken advantage of by several men on her journey to join her lover, and eventually ends in line to being made Bresslaw's 13th wife!; another involves the constant attempts to violently curtail the cock's heralding of each new day by the reluctant soldiers. This good-looking film which actually anticipates the team's other outing with an exotic setting, the even better CARRY ON...UP THE KHYBER (1968) is satisfyingly capped by an action-packed climax.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?