The Carry On Films, depending on your viewpoint, are either seen as
classic examples of British humour or cheaply made rubbish. Mixing
stereotypical comedy types with historical/contemporary settings, the
Carry On comedies are an eclectic mix of parody and double entendres.
They often rely on deliberately bad puns, occasionally rising to inspired
heights, as in Carry On Cleo, where Julius Caesar (Kenneth Williams)
staggers back from an assassination attempt crying "Infamy! Infamy!
They've all got it in for me!"
The mainstay of Carry On humour was innuendo and the sending-up of British
institutions and customs, such as the Medical Matters (Nurse, Doctor,
Again Doctor, Matron), Hammer Horror's (Screaming), the Monarchy (Henry),
the British Empire (Up the Khyber), Trade Unions (At Your Convenience),
Package Holidays (Abroad) and Beauty Contests (Girls) amongst numerous
others. Although the films were very often slated by the critics, they
proved incredibly popular with audiences.
Between 1958 and 1978, 30 films were made at Pinewood Studios all under
the watchful eyes of Director Gerard Thomas and Producer Peter Rogers. The
mainstays of the series were Kenneth Williams (26 films), Joan Sims (24),
Charles Hawtrey (23) and Sid James (19), but these were joined but other
popular actors such as Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Connor, Bernard Bresslaw
and Barbara Windsor.
A new team convened in 1992 to make Carry On
Columbus, but alas this was unpopular with cinema going audiences,
although still managed to claw back its production costs.