I've always hated them to be honest, never understood their popularity. I can't stand that English seaside postcard style humour that I always associated them with. And the whole "Babs" Windsor getting her baps out or not thing was cringe. Could never stand her either.
I vividly remember seeing CARRY ON NURSE when I was a tyke. There's a scene when one of the characters is playing the piano and gets ambitious, ultimately falling off the bench. As a little kid I thought that was fantastic and couldn't stop laughing. My parents had to remove me from the auditorium.
I've only seen two of them--CARRY ON SCREAMING (their horror film spoof) way back around 1971 and CARRY ON HENRY VIII in 2013. Sadly, my memory of the most recent one is as hazy as the one from 1971, although I'd be interested in seeing SCREAMING again. I can't remember a single specific scene from HENRY VIII. I'm trying to come up with the best word to describe my overall impression of the film. Tawdry? (Too strong). Risqué? (Too bland.) Sophomoric? (Maybe.) Ribald may be best.
I grew up with these and have seen many of them several times. I fully accept that more than a few were/are utter rubbish and they out-stayed their welcome.
Once the more adult-orientated comedies hit the screen (Confessions of a Window Cleaner (1974) et al.) they hadn't a hope of competing.
But in their heyday they provided more than a few laughs (albeit largely non-PC ... even then!) and, allowing for their very limited budgets, were pretty good. I believe Cleo (1964) benefited from being able to use sets left-over from Cleopatra (1963) but otherwise it was the usual studio backlot with the occasional location shot ... Camber Sands ~ Sahara (Follow That Camel (1967)) ... and so on.
Bill mentions Cabby (1963) and I intend to watch this again one day as I recall enjoying it ... 50 years ago!
Follow That Camel doesn't work too well because the humour brought by star Phil Silvers doesn't sit easily with the style ... it is a very-British idea, a counter to the dreary kitchen-sink dramas of the late 1950s / early 1960s and a way of making fun of the British way-of-life ... be it current (as then) or historical. Even Cleo - one of the most successful - was based around British characters taken as slaves.
If you watch any of the many documentaries made you'll see that a lot of effort was put into making the films, especially given the low budgets, but - as always - money (lack of!) took its toll.
For me, the best usually had a script by Talbot Rothwell and/or starred Sid James.
From Henry there's a great sequence in which his new wife Queen Marie prepares the banquet ... he takes his first mouthful of succulent chicken/duck only to find it flavoured with garlic. At that time (1971) garlic was not commonplace in the British kitchen.
In Up the Khyber (1968) the target is the British stiff-upper-lip mentality ... carry-on no matter what. The big dinner party must not be interrupted despite the building being destroyed by cannons ... even the actors struggled to keep straight faces
In Cleo, the titular character presents Antony with an asp ... her means of dispatching Caesar ... saying just one bite to which Antony takes ... just one bite.
In Abroad(1972) which mocked the new craze of Brits taking a holiday in the sun ... a quick trip to Costa ... only to find the hotel not quite ready to accept residents (a very common complaint at the time)
And whilst the next one Girls (1973) was pushing the limits for this genre, it did make the point that the English (British) sea-side was struggling to keep up with the new world of European holiday travel.
Plenty of fond memories ... but very much a product of their time. Mitch
Yeah, I grew up going to the cinema to see them as they were released. I'd recommend Cleo, I find it still very funny & one of the best looking films of the series (they used the abandoned Cleopatra sets when the production moved to Italy). The one b/w Carry On I still like is Spying, no Sid James, but it does have Bernard Cribbins & Jim Dale & the humour is very goonish, if that means anything on this US site). Don't Lose Your Head is pretty good. Saying that, I think I'm done with them, I've just seen 'em too many times.
..."Friends...romans...." "....Countryman..." "I know!!"
My favourite line in that, isn't joke, it's where Julius Caesar (Kenneth Williams) meets up with Mark Antony (Sid James) near the start of the film. They greet each other like two old theatrical agents...TONY!...JULIE!
Always loved the Carry Ons. They are of course of their time, but so what? Many classic films including comedy are.
The black and white ones are a natural 'carry on' from the Ealing comedies. Only when we get to such as Carry On England and Emmannuelle do things start to really slide, and merge into the Confessions films. Yuk.
That first b&w one by the way has William Hartnell - the first Doctor Who star - as it's star (and third Doctor Jon Pertwee was in a few).
I can watch them any time. Of the colour ones Khyber, Cowboy - a British western!!!, and Screaming are my faves. "Frying tonight!"
There are plenty of other comedies with various Carry On team members (eg. What A Carve Up, comedy horror with Sid James and Kenneth Connor), and some were made separately with the Carry On prefix added when they realised it would make more money that way. I'm pretty sure the Phil Silvers one is that, and maybe Don't Lose Your Head.