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a right carry on

quad poster

press card - countess esmeralda and felipe plot the downfall of chris columbus. press card - the sultan of turkey, assisted by the wazir, politely reminds a merchant that tax is payable on all goods. press card - chris columbus 'recruits' sailors for his voyage with the help of diego, the prison governor.
press card - chris columbus and fatima press card - strange things happen on the search for gold to crew members diego, mort and pepi. press card - secret agent fatima, meets up with achmed to plot the sabotage of columbus' voyage.

carry on columbus 1992

rating

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cast
 

Chris Columbus Jim Dale
Sultan of Turkey Rik Mayall
Fatima Sara Crowe
Mordecai Mendoza Bernard Cribbins
Don Juan Diego Julian Clary
Esmeralda Maureen Lipman
Don Juan Felipe Richard Wilson
Achmed Alexei Sayle
King Ferdinand Leslie Phillips
Queen Isabella June Whitfield
Bart Columbus Peter Richardson
Pepi the Poisoner Keith Allen
Marco Jack Douglas
Maria Holly Aird
Tonto the Torch Danny Peacock
Chiquita Rebecca Lacey
Duke/Costa Brava Jon Pertwee
Governor Peter Gilmore
Wang Bert Kwouk
Wazir Nigel Planer
Bosun Don Henderson
Baba Tony Slattery
Martin Martin Clunes
Pontiac Charles Fleischer
The Shamen Peter Gordeno
Tribal Chief Larry Miller
Manservant John Antrobus
Hubba Chris Langham
Genghis Andrew Bailey
Ginger Philip Herbert
Customer David Boyce
Nina the Model Sara Stockbridge
Torquemada James Faulkner
Inquisitor Don MacLean
Cardinal Peter Grant
Countess Joanna Su Douglas
Meg Lynda Baron
Sam Allan Corduner
Fayid Nejdet Salih
Mark Mark Arden
Abdullah Silvestre Tobias
Cecil the Torturer Harold Berens
Captain Perez Marc Sinden
Poco Hontas Reed Martin
Inquisitor Dave Freeman
Inquisitor Duncan Duff
Inquisitor Jonathan Tafler
Inquisitor James Pertwee
Inquisitor Toby Dale
Inquisitor Michael Hobbs
   
Screenplay Dave Freeman
Producer Peter Rogers
Director Gerald Thomas

promotional material


the single by fantastic planet


opening night ticket at leicester square odeon


competition sheet - front


competition sheet - rear





 

plot

It is 1492 and the greedy Abdul the Benevolent, Sultan of Turkey controls the overland trade routes from the Far East to Europe. With enthusiastic help of his Grand Wazir, the Sultan gleefully taxes merchants on goods as they enter and leave his domain. When a messenger arrives from Lisbon with a message from secret agent Achmed the shoemaker, the Sultan realises he soon could be living below the kebab-line as his brimming coffers empty. For the message reads that Christopher Columbus can reach the Indies - by sea.

Determined not to let this happen, Abdul summons Fatima and sends her to see Achmed and find out more about Christopher Columbus. Achmed, who is also a Christian convert, owns the shop next to Columbus and through a cunning covert devise (a hole in the wall), they spy on him. They discover with the help of a map provided by Mordecal Mendoza, Columbus intends on making his fortune. But first they must journey to see the King & Queen to persuade them to finance the expedition to to the Indies.

However on the way, they are nearly arrested for not eating a ham sandwich by the Spanish Inquisition. Thankfully they get out of that predicament and the next day are granted an audience with the King & Queen. Columbus promises to refill the Spanish Treasury, emptied by the King's overindulgence in jewellery for pretty ladies, with gold and treasure from China and the Indies. They agree, but only on the condition that they get 90% of the plunder he brings back with him.

They have been given a ship, The Santa Maria, but Columbus' next problem is finding a crew. He  finally resorts to the prison to find them. Thus Pepe the poisoner, Tonta the torch, Marco the cereal killer and Cecil the torturer all become crew members, as does Don Juan Diego, the prisons governor. Also on board is Don Juan Felipe - the Royal Emissary, Columbus's brother Bart and Turkish spies Achmed and Fatima.

Fatima certainly hinders proceedings, by using various devious means such as getting the arsonist to set the boat alight and by utilising the poisoners skills by poisoning the hotpot.

Meanwhile, Mordecai translates from the Hebrew scroll. He literally terrifies everyone (including himself) with tales of sea serpents, cursed seas and ghost ships. It's at this point that the Santa Maria collides with what the crew think to be a ghost ship, albeit a very solid one. Columbus, along with a few 'volunteers' go on board to investigate. They find that the ship is deserted, but the table is set for a meal. Sick of Pepe's food, they tuck in with glee and are even more delighted when they stumble across wine, gold and jewellery. Unfortunately, the ship is actually a Spanish galleon that's been moored at  H.M Customs in the Canaries. They are soon discovered by Customs officers and are promptly thrown into jail. After they're released, they get lumbered with The Countess Esmeralda, the Countess Joanna and Maria, due to the fact that they have inadvertently fire damaged their vessel. They are to immediately set sail back to Spain, to drop the women off.

However, Columbus continues his search for the new world unabated. Morale starts to run low, except in the case of Fatima, who announces that she's really a female and that she's a spy for the Sultan. Not surprisingly Columbus doesn't mind too much, after all, he's glad for a bit of female company.

Morale has now sunk so low that the crew mutiny. Columbus is apprehended and is about to be hung, but manages to buy himself some time when he announces that he used to be a pirate and that he has shed loads of treasure stored away. Suddenly, and to Columbus' enormous relief a cry of 'Land Ho' is heard. They have discovered America.

A landing party is sent to the shore and it's not long before they bump into the natives. The crew try to communicate using sign language, but this completely stumps the natives, who can actually speak the same language as the crew. Columbus is taken to meet the Tribes Chief, who's accent sounds like he's from the Bronx in New York. Columbus gives him gifts, but the Chief thinks that the bells that the crew bring are balls. However he offers Columbus a cigar, who promptly tries to eat it. Eventually getting to the point, Columbus explains that what he wants is gold. So the Chief sends the crew, along with some natives and a Shaman to the abandoned gold mines, delightfully called The Mines of Doom.

Once they arrive, the natives refuse to enter as nobody who enters ever returns. However, the Shamen has no such fears, and leads them in. However, he falls down a hole, then promptly shoots back up. Unfortunately he's dead (well actually pretending to be dead), so the crew press on regardless. They encounter all manners of dangers including huge rolling bolders, massive spiders, falling rocks and plenty of booby traps.

Eventually, after this adventure proves too much for them, they are returned to the Chief. They still stubbornly refuse to leave without gold, so the Chief arranges to swap some gold in exchange for guns, gunpowder and wine. The crew are given the Chiefs 'special' gold and the crew all leave for Spain, with the exception of Don Juan Felipe (who stays to become Governor) and Achmed (who stays because he's scared of what the Sultan might do to him for failing his mission).

Back on board the Santa Maria, the gold is examined, and discovered to be fools gold. The question is, will it fool the King and Queen? They think, probably not, so a plan is hatched.

When the gold is presented to their majesties, Bart disguises himself as a member of the Inquisition, walks into the throne room, and demand that the gold is confiscated as it is the property of the heathans, because the Tribe was not baptised. The King is livid and demands to know why. Columbus replies that he didn't supply him with a priest, just a bookkeeper.

Having got away with it, they return to sea, where we see Bart and Maria married, whilst Columbus and Fatima sneak back to his cabin, where he is instructed to 'Carry On'!

review

14 years after the dire Carry On Emmannuelle limped its way onto the screen, came this attempt to try to refloat the good ship Carry On. With two other po faced Christopher Columbus films being released in 1992 to celebrate the 500th year of his discovery of America (1492 and Christopher Columbus : The Discovery), Carry On Columbus was set to cash in on the anniversary. Indeed initial signs were good. A whole host of the current top comedy talent in the UK was going to be used, Gerald Thomas was back in the directors chair with Peter Rogers as an executive producer, the script would be written by Carry On Behinds Dave Freeman, and most importantly there would be several of the old regulars back. The publicity was enormous with most of the UK press going into overdrive and plenty of mentions on the telly, including a 10 minute feature on Barry Normans 'Film 92'.

Then along came the initial reviews and given the weight of expectation, the film buckled. Most of the critics panned it and the public reaction wasn't that much better. In its favour it did gross more than the two other Columbus films at the box office. Alas it did not recoup it's 2.5 million costs at the box office, it only took 1.6 million. It did eventually show profit thanks to video sales and a premiere on Sky Movies.

So what went wrong? Well numerous factors came into play. The script was rushed and wasn't funny (Dave Freeman would go on to admit this. Although he was only given two weeks to write it). The old regulars and newcomers don't really work well together especially Jim Dale and Peter Richardson. The old regulars, with the exception of Jim Dale don't really get a look in (Jon Pertwee in a 'blink and you'll miss him' appearance is shockingly wasted). Finally, a great deal of the cast are miscast; Alexi Sayle, Peter Richardson and especially Maureen Lipman all put in shocking performances.

There are good bits to the film. The opening music by John du Prez is fantastic and the first half of the film isn't too bad. Indeed the opening scene with Rik Mayall is very good and makes you wonder why he doesn't appear in the rest of the picture. But as a whole, the film certainly isn't up to scratch, which was a shame, as on paper it looked like it might just have worked.

other information

Due to pressure from the film company, Dave Freeman had to whittle off his script in a couple of weeks in order to get the production in cinema's during the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage. He would go on to say that he wasn't a fan of the end product and believed a great deal of characters was miscast.

Frankie Howard was signed up to appear, but passed away shortly before he was due to film his role as the King of Spain. Leslie Phillips replaced him.

It took more money at the UK box office than the two other Columbus films released in 1992 - 'Christopher Columbus: The Discovery' and '1492'.

When interviewed on the set, executive producer Peter Rogers was asked about the new team of electricians and carpenters working behind the scenes. In a typical Rogers response he replied, "I'm not a fan, and I find them noisy and vulgar. The Carry On's may heave been rude, but never vulgar. It's the difference between shit and treading in it."

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