Two Britons, Hengist and Horsa, are captured and enslaved by invading Romans and taken to Rome. One of their first encounters in Rome leaves Hengist being mistaken for a fighter, and gets drafted into the Royal Guard to protect Caesar.
Two Britons are captured and enslaved by invading Romans and taken to Rome. Hengist Pod creates useless inventions, while Horsa is a brave and cunning fighter. One of their first encounters in Rome leaves Hengist being mistaken for a fighter, and gets drafted into the Royal Guard to protect Caesar. Cleo doesn't want him around and plots for his sudden demise...Written by
Simon N. McIntosh-Smith <Simon.N.Smith@cs.cf.ac.uk>
Perhaps the best of the entire CARRY ON cycle, notable for its reuse of the sets and costumes originally conceived for Joseph L. Mankiewicz's monumental folly CLEOPPATRA (1963), CARRY ON CLEO contains its fair share of innuendo - so thick and intricate, in fact, that viewers can only tease out the brilliance of Talbot Rothwell's script after repeated viewings.
Yet perhaps uniquely among the cycle, this film contains memorable performances too. Amanda Barrie has never been more seductive as Cleopatra she she lolls in her bath of asses' milk tempting Mark Antony (Sidney James) to join her. She remains gloriously empty- headed when faced with any schemes to enact, but certainly knows how to deal with men, especially the duffer Julius Caesar (Kenneth Williams). It is only when she gives Briton Hengist Pod (Kenneth Connor) a love-potion, transforming him from a mouse into a sexual Lothario that she meets her match.
What perhaps distinguishes this film, however, is its metatheatrical awareness. Director Gerald Thomas makes no bones about tracing its origins in music-hall and variety; jokes are delivered as separate lines direct to camera with little concern for dramatic verisimilitude. The cast have no need to; they know that the viewers are waiting for the next innuendo, and they are prepared to glance briefly at the camera before delivering it, taking us into their confidence as they do so.
This makes for both a liberating yet a lasting experience; we feel that we are somehow complicit with the actors in a ritual that we all know and love. It doesn't really matter what the film's subject might be; as if going to pantomime or a variety show, we are there to see our favorite actors doing what they are best at, and participating in a community experience of cathartic laughter. It is this unique quality, shared only by a few films (others might include Abbott and Costello or the Marx Brothers) that invests them with their timeless qualities.
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