Carry on Films

Carry On
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Directed by Gerald Thomas
Produced by Peter Rogers
Written by Norman Hudis 1958–1962
Talbot Rothwell 1963–1974
Starring Kenneth Williams
Joan Sims
Charles Hawtrey
Sid James
Kenneth Connor
Peter Butterworth
Bernard Bresslaw
Hattie Jacques
Jim Dale
Barbara Windsor
Jack Douglas
Terry Scott
and others
Music by Bruce Montgomery (1958–1962)
Eric Rogers (1963–1975 and 1978)
Max Harris (1976)
Distributed by Anglo-Amalgamated
Rank Organisation
Release date(s) 1958–1978, 1992
Running time Estimated at 2700 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Carry On films are a sequence of 31 low-budget British comedy motion pictures produced between 1958 and 1992. The films' humour was in the British comic tradition of the music hall and seaside postcards. Producer Peter Rogers and director Gerald Thomas drew on a regular group of actors, the Carry On team, that included Sidney James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth, Hattie Jacques, Terry Scott, Bernard Bresslaw, Barbara Windsor, Jack Douglas and Jim Dale.

The Carry On series contains the largest number of films of any British series, and next to the James Bond films, it is the second longest continually running UK film series (with a fourteen-year break between 1978 and 1992). From 1958 to 1966 Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors Ltd produced 12 films, with Rank Organisation making the remaining 19 between 1967 and 1992. All the films were made at Pinewood Studios.

Producer Peter Rogers and director Gerald Thomas made all 31 films, usually on time and to a strict budget, and often employed the same crew. Between 1958 and 1992, the series employed seven writers, most often Norman Hudis (1958–1962) and Talbot Rothwell (1963–1974). In between the films, Rogers and Thomas produced Four Christmas specials in 1969, 1970, 1972 and 1973, a thirteen episode television series in 1975 and various West End stage shows which later toured the regions.

Background

The films' humour was in the British comic tradition of the music hall and seaside postcards. Many of them parodied more serious films — in the case of Carry On Cleo (1964), the Burton and Taylor film Cleopatra (1963).

The stock-in-trade of Carry On humour was innuendo and the sending-up of British institutions and customs, such as the National Health Service (Nurse, Doctor, Again Doctor, Matron), the monarchy (Henry), the Empire (Up the Khyber), the military (Sergeant) and the trade unions (At Your Convenience) as well as the Hammer horror film (Screaming), camping (Camping), foreigners (Abroad), beauty contests (Girls), and caravan holidays (Behind) among others. Although the films were very often panned by critics, they proved very popular with audiences.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

The series began with Carry On Sergeant (1958), about a group of recruits on National Service, and was sufficiently successful that others followed. A film had appeared the previous year under the title Carry on Admiral; although this was a comedy in a similar vein (with Joan Sims in the cast) it has no connection to the series. There was also an unrelated 1937 film Carry On London, starring future Carry On performer Eric Barker.

The cast were poorly paid — around £5,000 per film for a principal performer.[8] In his diaries, Kenneth Williams lamented this and criticised several of the movies despite his declared fondness for the series as a whole.[9] Peter Rogers, the series' producer, acknowledged: "Kenneth was worth taking care of, because while he cost very little [...] he made a very great deal of money for the franchise."[8]

Filmography

Further information: Carry On series on screen and stage

Cast

Album

Main article: Oh! What a Carry On!

In 1971, Music For Pleasure released a long playing record Oh! What a Carry On! (MFP MONO 1416) featuring songs performed by Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale, Kenneth Connor, Frankie Howerd, Bernard Bresslaw, Joan Sims, Barbara Windsor, and Dora Bryan.

Television

Further information: Carry On series on screen and stage § Television

The characters and comedy style of the Carry On film series were adapted to a television series titled Carry On Laughing, and several Christmas specials.

Documentaries

A 50-minute television documentary What's a Carry On? was made in 1998 for the 40th anniversary of the first film. It included archive clips, out-takes and interviews with surviving cast members. It was included as an extra on the DVD release of Carry On Emmannuelle . In November 2003 a T.V. series called Popcorn ran a Carry On Special documentary and interviews on S4c featuring Jynine James. This was in respect of a new Carry On film being produced by Peter Rogers called Carry On London. It featured interviews and clips of the past Carry On films and went into detail about the new film and cast. However despite the script being signed off and sets constructed at Pinewood film studios, due to the untimely death of Producer Peter Rogers, the project was shelved. A two-hour radio documentary Carry On Forever!, presented by Leslie Phillips, was broadcast in two parts on BBC Radio 2 in two parts on 19–20 July 2010.

References in other media

The success of the Carry On series occasionally led to affectionate parodies of the series by other contemporary comedians:

Merchandise

Falcon De Luxe a UK company owned by Jumbo Games released a jigsaw based on the official Carry On movie posters. The jigsaw is a montage of numerous movie posters along with the main movie logo in the center.[12]

References

Notes

Bibliography

External links

  • Carry On Films at The Whippit Inn Detailed information on the Carry On film series
  • What a Carry On A tribute to the series
  • Carry On Locations Tour
  • Carry On Forever An extensive look at the series
  • IMDb
  • Laugh with the Carry Ons (TV Series 1993) at IMDb
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