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a right carry on

quad poster

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carry on england 1976

rating

**********

cast
 

Captain S. Melly Kenneth Connor
Sgt Major Bloomer Windsor Davies
Sgt Tilly Willing Judy Geeson
Sgt Len Able Patrick Mower
Bombardier Ready Jack Douglas
Brigadier Peter Jones
Pte Alice Easy Diane Langton
Gnr Shorthouse Melvyn Hayes
Major Carstairs Peter Butterworth
Ffoukes-Sharpe Joan Sims
Major Butcher Julian Holloway
Captain Bull David Hodge
Gunner Shaw Larry Dann
Gunner Owen Brian Osborne
Melly's Driver Johnny Briggs
Corporal Cook Patricia Franklin
Nurse Linda Hooks
Officer John Carlin
Officer Michael Nigtingale
Freda Vivienne Johnson
Gunner Hiscocks Jeremy Connor
Gunner Parker Richard Olly
Gunner Thomas Peter Banks
Gunner Drury Richard Bartlett
Gunner Childs Billy J Mitchell
Gunner Sharpe Peter Quince
Pte Murray Tricia Newby
Gunner Gale Paul Tothill
Private Evans Louise Burton
Private Edwards Jeannie Collings
Private Taylor Linda Regan
A.T.S. Barbara Rosenblat
   
Screenplay Jack Seddon &
David Pursall
Producer Peter Rogers
Director Gerald Thomas

plot

The Privates in an experimental mixed anti-aircraft battery somewhere in England at the start of World War II have so far defied every effort to bring order into their ranks and deviate them from the unremitting determination to make love not war.

As a last resort, the powers-that-be decide to send well meaning but bungling. tetchy little Captain S. Melly to try to knock some shape into the unruly mob.

He does not receive the support he expects from his Sgt. Major, 'Tiger' Bloomer, whose customary method of exerting authority through a barrage of ear splitting expletives is gagged by the presence of the battery 'chicks'.

Foremost among the rankers who try to foil Melly's every effort at discipline are Bombadier Ready, Sgt. Willing, Sgt. Able, Private Sharpe, Gunner Shorthouse and Private Easy.

After a disastrous turn-out on the barrack square, which Melly scathingly likens to a 'love parade', the mini-bulldog of a man determines to put pressure on his mutinous bunch of recruits by segregating the sexes entirely until they have learned their lesson. This he does by putting a huge, explosive 'hen coup' of barbed wire round the girls hut.

The frustrated troops retaliate by tunnelling under the field to each others quarters, leaving so much hollow ground behind that when their first anti-aircraft gun arrives to replace their wooden dummy, it sinks into a morass of soft earth before a single shot can be fired.

Ready, Willing, Able and their mates are so incensed by Melly's interference with what they consider their amatory rights, that they determine to turn Melly's inspection of the 'reformed' battery by the Brigadier and his aide, Carstairs, into the biggest possible shambles.

At the height of the chaos, the air raid siren wails out over the square as a German air armada, pursued by a squadron of spitfires, approaches overhead.

By sheer beginners' luck, Melly's men and women bring down every enemy aircraft in triumph, although Captain Melly gets a bit of a battering in the rush to man and fire the gun.

He ends up with two splintered fingers in the shape of a 'V' which is thought to have inspired a famous war leaders victory sign.

review

Hotly debated in Carry On circles, Carry On England is often uttered in the same breath as Carry On Emmannuelle as to which is actually the worst of the series. We're going to stick our necks out here and say that England is marginally better than Emmannuelle.

That's not to say that England is a good film. It isn't. The main problem with it is that the regulars seem woefully out of place, especially (by her own admission) poor Joan Sims and it doesn't really feel like a proper Carry On. Another factor to consider is that Sid James had recently died just before filming commenced, no doubt putting a dampener over the whole shambles.

By this stage in the game, the comedy had moved away from the double entendres and comic banter and had been replaced by smut. A good example is Patrick Mower singing along to a tango and instructing Judy Geeson to 'Get those pants down'. Hmmm, nice.

Obviously when opportunity came knocking for Judy Geeson and Patrick Mower, they didn't pretend they were in the bath. What they're doing in this is anybodies guess, but it doesn't seem that either of them can cope with comedy. Although that might have more to do with the banality of the script rather than they're acting skills.

We also get very little sense of historical setting. Its supposed to be set in 1940, but apart from the stock footage of Winston Churchill and the German planes, this could have been set anytime during the last 50 years.

The film does have some redeeming features though. The most notable being the partnership between Kenneth Connor and Windsor Davies. Peter Butterworth is always great as well and there's a great cameo from Julian Holloway as the MO - 'What have you been doing? Arsing about?!'

Overall though the film is tired, laboured and for the most part unfunny. It knocked the series into a spiralling decline as it was now trying to compete with the 'Confessions Of' series of films...

other information

The film was originally considered for ATV's Carry On Laughing TV show. However Peter Rogers liked the idea, so it was extended into a feature film.

The film was originally rated an 'AA', but after a disastrous performance at the box office, it was quickly re edited into the usual 'A' certificate.

This was the first major flop since Carry On At Your Convenience five years earlier and only made its costs up thanks to television and video sales.

The role of the Brigadier was offered to Kenneth Williams, who was unable to accept due to stage commitments. Wise move there Ken!

The team yet again use the Pinewood Orchard as the location for the Army camp.
The film includes some shots of British and German aircraft taken from the film 'The Battle of Britain'.

bloopers

When the toggle on the gun is pulled back that supposedly injures Kenneth Connors fingers, it doesn't actually make contact with them.

When the Sergeant Major sounds the wake up call in Melly's hut, the Sergeant Majors rope on his uniform is on his right shoulder. But in the next scene when he is shouting at Patrick Mower, the rope is on his left shoulder.

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