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Carry on Nurse (1959)
The first of the Carry On medical capers
The first of the medical outings, Carry On Nurse is one of the earlier Carry On films and one of the best to start with. Most of the action revolves around the staff and patients on the men's surgical ward at Haven Hospital.
The patients and staff are played by actors who were to become stalwarts of the Carry On series and settle into their stereotypes quite well. Kenneth Connor is a boxer with a broken wrist. Kenneth Williams is his usual snooty intellectual, and is paired off with a glamour girl!, while Charles Hawtrey spends most of the time in bed listening to his wireless.
Matron Hattie Jacques' strict supervision of nurses Shirley Eaton and a young Joan Sims prompts the patients to give her a taste of her own medicine, in this case an hilarious attempt at removing Leslie Phillips bunion! There is also an hilarious gag involving Wilfrid Hyde White and *that* daffodil!
A must see!
Carry on Camping (1969)
The best of British comedies!
This film is as British as fish and chips and beer. It is also one of my personal favourites. A real treat from beginning to end. This film should be viewed at least once by everyone, even if only for the legendary sequence of Barbara Windsor doing exercises! Sid James is the randy bloke who, along with his gormless mate Bernard Bresslaw, hit on the idea of taking repressed girlfriends Joan Sims and Dilys Laye to a nudist colony to loosen them up, but end up at an normal family campsite.
Kenneth Williams is the snooty headmaster of a girls' boarding school who, with matron Hattie Jacques, hits on the idea of getting their oversexed pupils, including a particularly oversexed Barbara Windsor, back to nature.
The loner of the group is Charles Hawtrey, first discovered in compromising position in a tent with an attractive salesgirl. He finds refuge in the company of henpecked Terry Scott and his spirited wife Betty Marsden but ends up with the St Trinian's like schoolgirls!
A real treat and a must for Carry On fans!
Carry on Behind (1975)
A final jolly holiday with the team
Carry On Behind is basically a reworking of Carry On Camping, except that the action takes place at a caravan park instead of a camping site. The plot revolves around a group of archaeologists who arrive at the site to dig for Roman remains but get mixed up in some weird situations with holiday makers.
A number of the Carry On stars are missing from this film but there are enough regulars to keep the action at a lively pace. The film belongs to Kenneth Williams and international guest star Elke Sommer as the archaeologists, with Sommer's fractured English providing most of the best one-liners.
The remaining regulars, including Kenneth Connor, Joan Sims and Bernard Bresslaw are restricted to supporting roles but never fail to give first class performances, including Connor as a randy major who owns the site, Sims as the mother-in-law from hell and Bresslaw as her long-suffering son-in-law.
All in all, a final jolly holiday with the team.
Theater of Blood (1973)
One of Price's forgotten successes
I had read about Theatre of Blood and desperately wanted to see it. I finally managed to get the DVD and I enjoyed every minute of it!
Vincent Price stars as Edward Lionheart, a Shakespearean actor whose work is constantly panned by the critics. Lionheart then steals a prestigious award and jumps into the River Thames. Rescued by some tramps, and then presumed dead, Lionheart decides that it's curtains for the critics!
Secretly assisted by his sinister daughter played Diana Rigg, he sets out to murder the critics in Shakespearean ways, most of which are quite amusing to see! Michael Hordern is hacked to death, Dennis Price is stabbed with a dagger, Arthur Lowe is beheaded in bed, Harry Andrews has his heart cut out, Robert Coote is drowned in a barrel of wine, Coral Browne gets an electrifying new hairstyle and Robert Morley is force-fed some poodle pie!
Ian Hendry is the head critic who is helping the police investigate the murders. Irish actor Milo O' Shea gives an excellent performance as the Inspector with Eric Sykes as his Sergeant. There are also delightful cameos from Diana Dors, Joan Hickson and Renee Asherson as the critic's wives.
The film also boasts some amazing sequences, my favourite is at the end when Price is carrying his dead daughter up to the rooftop of a theatre towards the film's climax.
Interesting horror from the 1970s. Whether viewed as a horror or a comedy, I'm sure everyone will be pleased.
Just My Luck (1957)
Just My Luck
Norman Wisdom has to be one of the best British comedians of the 20th Century. For fifty years he has continued to entertain the British public with his films, TV appearances and one-man shows.
Between 1953 and 1966 Wisdom worked with the J. Arthur Rank Orginisation and there, starred in some of the best loved British comedies of all time, including Just My Luck.
The plot for the film is that Wisdom works in a jewellers workshop and fantasies about meeting the window dresser across the road. He wants to buy her a piece of jewellery, so decides to bet on the horses to win his fortune.
Wisdom fans won't be disapointed by this one. It has everything included in 1950s comedy: the poor shop-worker, the beautiful girl, the Goodwood races and the back seat of the cinema. Cameos by Leslie Phillips and Margaret Rutherford make it all the more enjoyable.
The Square Peg (1958)
The Square Peg
Norman Wisdom has to be one of the best British comedians of the 20th Century. For fifty years he has continued to entertain the British public with his films, TV appearances and one-man shows.
Between 1953 and 1966 Wisdom worked with the J. Arthur Rank Organisation and there, starred in some of the best loved British film comedies of all time, including The Square Peg.
The plot for the film is that council worker Norman and his boss Mr Grimsdale come into conflict with the local military. They are then drafted into the army themselves and sent to Nazi-occupied France where Widsom manages to foil the plans of German general.
If you like Wisdom's comedy or just want a little entertainment, then watch this film, you won't be disapointed. The scene with Wisdom in his dual role as Norman and the General and German opera singer Hattie Jacques is side-splittingly funny.
Our House (1960)
The majority of the master tapes for the ATV sitcom Our House were destroyed during the 1960s.
The plot concerns a group of very different people who pool together their funds and buy a house large enough to accomdate them all. Characters include librarian Georgina Ruddy, council official Simon Willow, unemployable Daisy Burke, Yorkshire sea dog Captain Illiffe and his French singing wife, newlywed Hattons and law student Gordon Brent.
So many faces from the Carry On films appear [Hattie Jacques, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Bernard Bresslaw], its a wonder they didn't call the series Carry On Under One Roof!
The only suriving episodes are Simply Simon [ITV, 8 Sept. 1960], A Thin Time [ITV, 25 Sept. 1960] and Love to Georgina [ITV, 20 Nov. 1960]
Classic comedy at its finest
Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques play twins, living in a small village, at 24 Sepastopol Terrace.
Most of the classic episodes revolved around Eric Sykes' daydream disasters and Hattie Jacques' bewilderment.
Other characters include Mr Brown [Richard Wattis] and village policeman Corky [Deryck Guyler].
The programme originally ran on BBC in black and white from 1960 to 1965 and was revived in colour from 1972 to 1979. Most of the colour episodes were remakes of classic episodes from the 1960s.
On the Buses (1969)
Bob Grant, 1932 - 2003
This is classic sitcom at it's finest. It follows the adventures of a London bus driver [Reg Varney] and his conductor [Bob Grant] on the No. 13 route to the Cemetery Gates. Inspector "Blakey" brought fame to Stephen Lewis who later became a famous face as Smiler in Last of the Summer Wine, but here he is in his most famous role ["Get that bus out"].Three feature films [On the Buses, Mutiny on the Buses, Holiday on the Buses] did the TV series no favours I recently read of Grant's death from suicide [aged 71]. It came as a great shock, as he always appeared to be such a happy person on the programme.
Carry on Cruising (1962)
Early entry, but still good fun
A captain, on his final voyage before retirement, is lumbered with a crew like a ship of fools and the passengers are a pretty strange bunch too.
An early entry but one that is promising and entertaining nonetheless. Sid James slightly under-used as the ship's captain but Kenneths Connor and Williams make a good bumbling double act.
Follow That Camel (1967)
Not bad, others are much better
Lesser Carry On which welcomes a guest star in the form of Phil Silvers. none other than Sergeant Bilko himself. Silvers, in his only Carry On, makes the most of a pretty disapointing script and the gang[Williams, Dale, Butterworth, Sims] are nearly completly eclipsed by the US star. Not a bad entry to the series, but one that goes way over the top and doesn't make the most of the stalwarts.
Simply, great drama
This is about the reuniting in the present day of a female jazz band, established during the Second World War, first broadcast by the BBC in 2000. Watching it was quite an experience.
Judi Dench and Ian Holm play a widowed saxophonist and dragged up drummer who try to reunite the band, which includes singer Cleo Laine, US actress Olympia Dukakis and June Whitfield, of Absolutely Fabulous fame.
The late Joan Sims is perfectly cast as the bandleader, who is found playing the piano in a Hastings pub; French star Leslie Caron and Billie Whitelaw in cameos makes it all the more enjoyable.
A rare example of good drama, surprisingly good drama - I recommend it to everyone.
They Go Boom! (1929)
Catching colds with Laurel and Hardy
I haven't seen many of the Laurel and Hardy shorts, but I was up in time this morning to catch this one. It is a diamond to behold. Oliver Hardy has the cold and Stan Laurel tries to cure him with his bumbling antics. By the end they have the bed up to the ceiling!
These shorts are very funny. If you haven't seen them yet, do so!
Carry on England (1976)
What the hell is this!?
When I read the comments about this film, I knew it would be bad, but it is not just bad, it is pathetic. By the time this entry was made, the gags were too familiar, too many regulars were missing and the series was half-way into its grave. Also, Sid James had sadly passed away. I missed him, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey and the gang.
There is far too much nudity for a Carry On, there is only four regulars (Connor, Sims, Butterworth and Douglas) and they show little enthusiasm, the script is a mess, the budget was far too tight, there was too many newcomers who were a complete waste of space. The whole thing is a stab in the back to THE Carry On series.
It is very sad to see Kenneth Connor transformed from his lovable Cockney bumbler into a bombastic little Hitler. Peter Butterworth looks bored and uninterested, not that he had much to do, like poor Joan Sims, who is given the most ridiculous of cameo roles and Jack Douglas is also wasted.
The only saving grace is Windsor Davies as the bellowing Sergeant Major. Patrick Mower and Judy Geeson were just not Carry On material.
This film is only to be watched as an instrument of torture. I admit that NOT ALL Carry Ons were great, but this is just inexcusable. Watch ALL other Carry Ons before and including BEHIND, with the possible exception of JACK, but stay well clear of this crap.
Carry on Cabby (1963)
Enjoyable battle-of-the-sexes caper
Carry On Cabby is an execellent addition to the series: Sid James plays Charles Hawkins, the never-stops-working owner of a taxi firm and Hattie Jacques is his neglected wife. As revenge, Hattie decides to set up her own taxi outlet with glamorous female drivers and beat her husband at his own game. This Carry On relies on the story to provide the laughs rather than any gags: this was Hattie's favourite Carry On, and its easy to understand why - she gets to reveal what a verastile actress she was under the monstorous authority figures.
Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
The 20s as the flappers knew it!
Overlong, granted, but none-the-less spectacular campy musical that makes the most of the choreography, notably the lift moving scene with Andrews and Moore at the start. Fox and Gavin are adequate but show little interest. Channing seems superfluous. Bea Lillie steals the acting honors.
Ooh... You Are Awful (1972)
Great cinema outing for Emery's brand of humor
Dick Emery is in all his memorable guises in this film about two con-men who con the Mafia out of a fortune, then must find out which girl has the bank account number on her backside [the number which his dead accomplice Ronald Fraser hid the cash after Emery went to jail for conning US tourists]. The film boasts a great collection scenes for Emery with Ronald Fraser, Derren Nesbitt, Pat Coombs, Cheryl Kennedy, Liza Goddard and Brian Oulton. It is also interesting to see the British cinema come up with a great comedy at the time their own successful generation of comic films was coming to an end.
Dentist on the Job (1961)
Not as bad as most suggest
I watched "Dentist on the Job" not long ago. I read in a particular review about the film: "You'll soon be crying out for laughing gas". Bob Monkhouse and Kenneth Connor are a couple of dentists who establish their own brand of toothpaste, with assistance from glamour girl Shirley Eaton and must gain approval from boss Eric Barker.
Not one of the finer examples of British comedy, but worth watching for some excellent performances from the finest British character players, along with a cameo from Charles Hawtrey as a dentist.
Carry on Loving (1970)
Carry On Loving
"Carry On Loving" was repeated on television on the most appropriate day - St. Valentine's Day. I had never seen this addition to the series before and was looking forward to seeing it as it was on very late on a Friday night. It was standard "Carry On" fare, but a little disappointing.
A group of "lonely hearts" try their luck at the Wedded Bliss Computer Dating Agency - run by the ever-enterprising Sid James and his battleaxe wife Hattie Jacques. The film suffers from loss of the usual humour and the stalwarts lose their importance due to the woefully inadequate screen time spent on the "happy couples" - Terry Scott and Imogen Hassall and Richard O' Callaghan and Jacki Piper.
There are fine performances from everyone including Charles Hawtrey as an inept private detective with very limited importance, Joan Sims as Sid's bit-on-the-side, Kenneth Williams as an UNMARRIED marriage guidance councillor and Bernard Bresslaw as the manic pro-wrestler Gripper Burke, not forgetting some delightful cameos from Peter Butterworth, Patsy Rowlands, Bill Maynard, Julian Holloway, Joan Hickson and Bill Pertwee.
Overall, a good "Carry On" film, but not a great one. If you have never seen a "Carry On" film before, try watching something earlier such as "Carry On Cowboy" or "Carry On Up the Khyber" etc, then watch this, but be warned, Charles Hawtrey, Bernard Bresslaw and Peter Butterworth are sadly under-used.
7 out of 10.
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Marvellous work, but sadly suffers from limited time
This is the tale of a well-known and respected American family - "The Magnificent Ambersons" and their rise and fall. The movie is not bad at all, there are some superlative performances from stars and character players alike. However, it is a sad fact that this, Orson Wells second masterpiece, suffered from the scissors in the cutting room. Being an RKO/Mercury Theatre production, executives reduced the picture from a much-required 135 minutes to a satisfactory, but a speedy 88 minutes, therefore, not giving satisfactory time for the viewer to understand the masterpiece fully.
Now, for my review of the players. Joseph Cotten gives an irregular performance as the romantic lead, silent star Dolores Costello is very much underused, as is then very young Anne Baxter, who would could onto bigger stardom in the next decade. Stealing the acting honors throughout the production are Tim Holt with his superb portrayal of the spoiled brat heir-to-the-throne, so to speak and Agnes Moorehead as his Auntie, who put their plan into action to sabotage a relationship between the widowed Isbabelle Amberson and charmer Eugene Morgan.
Overall, lives up to it's expectations of success, but suffers due to limited screen time and a very confusing plot for audiences of our generation.
Don't Lose Your Head (1967)
Carry On Chopping!
SPOILERS AFOOT AND APLENTY
This was the first quote in the film, quoted by Citizen Camemberet, the Chief of Secret Police during the French Revolution of 1789. Kenneth Williams is in a rather over-the-top persona for his character as he watches the Lords and Ladies of France lose their heads [literally!] by the dreaded blade of Madame La Guliotine. Tallying up the total of beheaded aristos for the day is his idiotic little runt of an accomplice, Citizen Bidet [Peter Butterworth].
Meanwhile, in England, the "toast of society", Sir Rodney Ffing [Two F's!] and Lord Darcy Pue [Jim Dale] are living the life of luxury, provided by horse riding, hunting, fishing ... and women! However, they are both bored stiff with living life of Riley ["same girls, same chaps, same balls!]. Their servant [Michael Ward] informs them of the crisis in France, so the Lords decide to "lend a hand". Sid James, in his usual character type, changes his voice tones from a nasal "posh" accent to his normal voice and dirty laugh and goes to Paris risk-willingly, with Jim Dale only too happy to follow and assist.
Citizen Robspierre [Peter Gilmore] is far from happy with "The Big Cheese" Camemberet. He is disgusted with "The Black Fingernail's" [a.k.a "That Ffing!"] success in helping the aristocracy escape. Camemberet is facing his biggest challenge yet, the Duc de Pommfrit [Charles Hawtrey] in his usual character self ["Oh hello!"], who's head is due to roll the next day: "Don't worry, by this time tomorrow, the Duc de Pommfrit will definitley have had his chips!".
The time comes for Pommfrit's execution, but he will not go up to the guliotine because he is too engrosed in a particular book. Bidet is sent to fetch him, at which stage Peter Butterworth is given probably his best "Carry On" retort, directed at him of course [!]when he and Charles indulge in some Cockney criticism: Duc: "Everyone knows your father was a basket maker!", Bidet: "That's where your wrong, nobody knows who my father was, not even my mother!".
The Black Fingernail, in the guise of an insurance salesman, manages to delibaratley break the behaeding apparatus, behead the executioner and free the Duc. When the guillotine breaks, the next great quote comes: Camemberet: "Sorry to keep you waiting your Grace", Duc: "This would never have happened under a ROYALIST government!", Camemberet: "There's no need to be personal!". Camemberet is then threatened with the loss of his own head, if the Fingernail's doesn't come off first.
From the only clues that was left, a piece of paper portaying two fingers in the contemptive way and a false-teeth contained locket, it must be assumed that the Fingernail is an English aristo. Camemberet, Bidet and the aforementioned's "bit-of-fluff" Desiree [Joan Sims] decide to head off to England to get clues. Hence the chance for another priceless quote when Bidet is eyeing-up the busty Desiree [Desiree: "Cammy, will you please tell this underling to take his eyes off me"/ Bidet: "Underling! We'll have no more of that talk, vie equality, vie fraternity, vie liberty/ Desiree: "I'm all for the eqaulity and the fraternity, but I'm not having the liberties!"], that being Joan's best ever "Carry On" retort.
Meanwhile, en route back to England, Sid enters a tavern, and the room of a busty French waif [the late Dany Robin]. A chance for a bit of verbal love-making is produced before the police break in after the Fingernail has jumped out the window and away into the night. They suspect Jacqueline [the girl] of being a collabrator and arrest her. There is also a delightful cameo by Marianne Stone as the inn-keeper who is interrogated physically by Bidet: "And let that be a lesson to you woman!".
Kenneth, Joan and Peter sail across the channel and to the palace of Sir Rodney, not wanting to miss one of his balls [!]. Sid and Jim know Kenneth's game, that he is the "Big Cheese" himself and want to expose him. Joan Sims, after being attacked by the sex-mad Duc, places the distinguishing locket on her cleavage as she dances with all the men to try and "suss" the owner of the piece out. She then admits to fancying Sid and he promises to make her a lady if she gives him information about his captured love intrest. She throws herself at the unwilling Sid and is caught by Kenneth, who challenges him to a duel, which ends up a shambles.
Kenneth, Joan and Peter go back to France, Kenneth and Peter still at risk of being headless and Joan not a lady. Sid, Jim and Charles follow to get Jacqueline back. They discover that Kenneth is chopping heads off the rich while living the life of luxury himself! The indulge in a grand finale, with the Brits launching an attack on Kenneth's mansion, and the defated figure has to stand and watch as all his antiques are destroyed. Sid finally rescues the girl, with the help of Joan. The house ends up collapsing with Kenneth and Peter inside and Sid, Jim, Charles, Joan and Dany Robin running for safety.
We are then taken back to Madame La Gulliotine, where Kenneth and Peter are about to disobey the title's advice. Kenneth: "Thank goodness the Fingernail isn't here to see this". Then Sid lift's the executioner's mask, brings down the blade and gives his trademark dirty laugh. Sid and Dany are lord and lady at Sid' mansion with Joan being Lady de Pommfrit: Joan: "Well this is a fine way to keep aa bargain, I must say!"/ Sid: "What's the matter with you, you wanted a title and he's got one"/ Joan: "I hate to think what it is!". Sid gives his dirty laugh and the film draws to a close.
Overall, "Carry On ... Don't Lose Your Head" is a masterpiece at describing English-French unrest history in a comedy sense. The film was called "Don't Lose Your Head" at first, but then re-released with "Carry On" added to it, which gave it bigger profit. A ten out of ten for this film and a must see for any "Carry On" fan. Laugh if you must, but take my advice, don't lose your head!
Jamaica Inn (1939)
Alfred Hitchcock is considered by many [including myself] to be one of the great directors of the twentieth century. While watching one of his masterpieces, one can expect suspense, revelation and maybe a shock or two - but amongst all, entertainment.
"Jamaica Inn" is one of Hitchcock's more earlier and most irregular [weird, if you like] films. This dated, very much inaudible and terribly not well-preserved piece from the director concentrates on the pirate attacks on ships near the Cornwall coast in the 1800s, involving theft and brutal treatment, nothing thrilling.
Charles Laughton takes over the rather tedious film as an eccentric and well-respected local squire and magistrate who is happily leading a double life as the pirate gang leader and Maureen O' Hara makes an effort as the young heroine, an Irish girl who has come to live with her relations in Cornwall [her uncle being a pirate] and getting mixed up with the the smugglers but fails to draw attention.
Overall, "Jamaica Inn" is a Hitchcock flop, and the director was probably taking up time before moving to Hollywood where he became an institution for the rest of his career. If you enjoy a Hitchcock picture, then view some of his later work such as "Vertigo", "Psycho" and "The Birds", otherwise give this a miss.
Carry on Matron (1972)
Excellent "later" Carry On
This "Carry On" film was made in 1972, when they were considered to be "past it". It is set at Finisham Maternity Hospital where Sid James plans to steal some pills. He is assisted by dumb Bernard Bresslaw, cockney Bill Maynard and Sid' son Kenneth Cope, disguised as a nurse.
The hospital staff include Hattie Jacques as Matron, Kenneth Williams as head surgeon Sir Bernard Cutting, Charles Hawtrey as Dr FA Goode, a psychiatrist, Barbara Windsor as the nurse and Terry Scott as lecherous Dr Prodd.
There is also a good supporting turn from Joan Sims as an "eating machine" expectant mother who is a month overdue and Kenneth Connor as her fed-up husband.
This film ends with Sid's gang getting away and wedding bells for Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams.
10 out of 10!
Carry on Regardless (1961)
A great "Carry On" film
"Carry On Regardless" was the fifth "Carry On" film to made.
It does not have a basic plot, but is full of sketches about an agency called "Helping Hands", that consists of people who are sent to help out in homes or at functions etc.
The fact that the film has no basic plot might make it confusing for some people, but having a series of sketches is a nice change, and this film contains some memorable ones, including Kenneth Williams taking a chimpanzee for a walk, Joan Sims getting drunk at a wine tasting, Charles Hawtrey winning a boxing match, Kenneth Connor in a "The 39 Steps" parody and Sid James getting up-close to the nurses at a hospital. Other treats include a home equipment demonstration and the gang demolishing a house.
10 out 10!
Murder at the Gallop (1963)
Based on Agatha Christie's book "After the Funearl", this murder mystery is about a rich old man who is murdered and Miss Marple suspects the family members must have done it for his money, but then, another family member is killed as well.
Margaret Rutherford gives an excellent performance as Miss Marple and she is supported by Robert Morley, as the hotel owner and horse rider, who gives just as good a performance as Margaret Rutherford and Flora Robson as the spinster and companion of the dead woman.