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follow that camel 1967




Sgt Ernie Nocker Phil Silvers
'Bo' West Jim Dale
Simpson Peter Butterworth
The Commandant Kenneth Williams
Captain Le Pice Charles Hawtrey
Zig-Zig Joan Sims
Lady Jane Angela Douglas
The Sheikh Bernard Bresslaw
Corktip Anita Harris
Corporal Clotski John Bluthal
Captain Bagshaw Peter Gilmore
Cyril Ponsonby William Mervyn
Ticket Collector Julian Holloway
Hotel Manager David Glover
Riff Larry Taylor
Raff William Hurndell
Doctor Julian Orchard
Ship's Officer Vincent Ball
Lawrence Peter Jesson
Spiv Gertan Klauber
Nightingale Michael Nightingale
Riff Richard Montez
Riff Frank Singuineau
Riff Simon Cain
Hotel Gentleman Harold Kasket
Cricket Bowler Edmund Pegge
Harem Girl Carol Sloan
Harem Girl Gina Gianelli
Harem Girl Dominique Don
Harem Girl Anne Scott
Harem Girl Patsy Snell
Harem Girl Zorenah Osborne
Harem Girl Margot Maxine
Harem Girl Sally Douglas
Harem Girl Angie Grant
Harem Girl Gina Warwick
Harem Girl Karen Young
Harem Girl Helga Jones
Screenplay Talbot Rothwell
Producer Peter Rogers
Director Gerald Thomas

promotional material

dot to dot puzzle


On the green, green turf of an English stately home, a leisurely and fashionable game of cricket is in progress. At the wicket Bertram Oliphant West - Bo to his friends - watches the approach of the incoming batsman, his best friend Captain Humphrey Bagshaw. The game resumes, a run is called for and as Bo and Bagshaw cross, Bagshaw trips and is run out.

Among the spectators are Sir Cyril Ponsonby, the owner of the estate, and his daughter Lady Jane Ponsonby. Lady Jane cannot decide on whether to marry Bo or Bagshaw.

Bo commiserated with his friend over being run out, but is shocked, when, in everyone's hearing Bagshaw accuses him of deliberately tripping him. In the ensuring recriminations all present side with Bagshaw whilst Lady Jane spurns poor Bo.

Bo, accompanied by his faithful manservant Simpson, seeks to bury his shame by enlisting in the French Foreign legion. They set off for Sidi Bel Abbes.

Travelling by camel they call at a cafe on the outskirts to inquire the way and meet Zigzig the owner and Sgt Nocker of the Legion. He is 'shacked-up' very cosily with the voluptuous Zigzig. Nocker is sleeping off some form of orgy, but Zigzig directs Bo and Simpson to the barracks. Life in the Legion under Commandant Burger and his adjutant Capitaine Le Pice, not to mention the scheming Sgt Nocker and the tough Corporal Clotski, is full of pitfalls for Bo and the indefatigable Simpson.

Sheik Abdul Abulbul, leader of the Touaregs, and his henchmen Riff and Raff are proving a formidable thorn in the flesh of authority and constantly disrupt the routine of the foreign infidels.

Meanwhile, back in England Lady Jane learns of Bo's innocence from Bagshaw on his deathbed, and sets out to tell Bo that his name has been cleared.

Fortunately, Bo and Simpson discover that they hold an advantage over Sgt Nocker, which they exploit to make life easier for themselves. Nocker, Bo and Simpson, now friends, visit Zigzigs cafe where they meet and are enchanted by the dancer Corktip. Prompted by Abdul she lures Nocker and Bo to her house where they are taken captive. Happily the faithful Simpson has followed his master.

After many adventures on land and sea, Lady Jane arrives at the barracks and is surprised to meet an old and valued friend in Burger. The Commandant directs her to the cafe, where Abdul is captivated by her beauty and, affected by too much ‘sherbet’; she is enticed to his tent.

Meanwhile the captives, Bo and Nocker, arrive at Oasis El Nooki, followed at a distance by Simpson. Lady Jane, still under the influence of 'sherbet', is reunited with Bo who is horrified to learn that she is about to become Abduls thirteenth wife. Simpson is captured and the party find temporary sanctuary in the harem tent but are forced to give themselves up. Learning of Abduls plans to attack the Legion Fort of Zuassantneuf; the wily Nocker escapes to warn the garrison at Sidi Bel Abbes.

Sadly Nocker has cried wolf once too often and instead of the heroes welcome he had anticipated, he is placed under arrest. Irrepressible as ever, he eventually persuades the Commandant to organise a relief force. So they set out for the oasis where they find Bo and Simpson barely alive.

Bo confirms that Abdul and his band intend attacking the fort and have taken Lady Jane along with them. Now begins an arduous march across the burning sands of the desert, under a cruel sun to the relief of Fort Zuassantneuf.

The heat and lack of water take their toll, aided by considerable dissension in the ranks. So that it is Burger, Nocker, Bo, Simpson, Clotski and a handful of legionnaires who struggle on, leaving Le Pice to return for further reinforcements. Against inhuman odds, the Commandant drives his depleted force in the general direction of the fort. Alas! The garrison has been wiped out and the Riffs are celebrating their victory nearby.

Burger takes over the fort and Bo is distressed to discover that the victory celebrations include the impending marriage of Abdul to Lady Jane. They rush to the rescue.

At the Riff encampment, a banquet is in progress and Abdul, while congratulating his warriors on their victory, exhorts them to give gifts to the glory of Abdul and his bride-to-be. Lady Jane is sent to his tent to receive these tributes and it is there that she is rescued by Bo, Burger and Nocker, who leave the hapless Simpson, unconvincingly disguised, in her place.

Once again the fort is under a stage of siege, the irate Abdul pursuing Simpson to its very doors. The defiant comrades repel every attack until their ammunition runs out and it is left to the audacious Sgt Nocker to effect their salvation by an ingenious plan.

The story ends where it began, with the surviving characters meeting on the same cricket field. Bo takes his stance at the wicket, ready to receive his first delivery. The bowler turns at the end of his run, and bowls an explosive ball. Abduls back!


Originally known as 'Follow that Camel' or the one with Bilko in it, this is a historical parody of the Beau Geste films. In the hope of fully launching the Carry Ons into an international market, Phil Silvers was cast as Sgt. Nocker. Primarily known as Sgt. Bilko from the long running CBS series, the backers must have thought that they would have a huge American hit on their hands. Silvers presence neither helped nor hindered the production and the film did the same sort of business as 'Don't Lose Your Head' did several months before. Basically Silvers plays the Nocker role exactly the same way he plays Bilko, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all that’s why he was chosen for the part.

The whole look of the film is extremely satisfying, mainly thanks to Alan Humes excellent lighting work. This is one of the rare times that the south coast of England (Camber Sands to be precise) looks exactly like a baking hot desert.
Along with 'Don't Lose Your Head', this was one of the crossover films that explains it rather odd title. Although overseas it was known as Carry On In The Legion. Hmm, not sure which titles better.

So the regulars in the film generally play second fiddle to Phil Silvers, who is on screen 90% of the time. Of them, Kenneth Williams portrays the German Commandant with suitable aplomb, even going as far to get a brutal haircut. Charles Hawtrey is as ever Charles Hawtrey. Jim Dale and Peter Butterworth make an excellent double act with suitable understated performances. Bernard Bresslaw gets a dry run for a role he would virtually recreate in Up The Khyber the following year, however the female performers are seriously underwritten for. Joan Sims has a few good lines as ZigZig, but Angela Douglas and Anita Harris don't really add anything to the plot apart from their looks.

To sum up, Follow That Camel is an average historical Carry On, but certainly not the best. Alas Phil Silvers doesn't fit in well and as a result doesn't really feel like a proper Carry On. Although some of the gags are funny, they don't hit the mark as frequently as 1964's Cleo or 1968's Up The Khyber. The film also suffers from having dark moments e.g. A suicide within the first 10 minutes, soldiers dying, the desperate march to the Fort. That said, all in all its fairly entertaining, just that the team were capable of producing much better.

other information

The location filming at Camber Sands took three weeks, the longest in the series.

When The Rank Organisation took over the Carry On series from Anglo Amalgamated in 1966, they wanted to remove the famous 'Carry On' prefix, fearing that their cinematic output would be tainted with the low brow name. The two films that were affected by this were 'Don't Lose Your Head' and 'Follow That Camel'. Realising their error, Rank re-released them both soon afterwards and the box office takings soared.

Names initially considered for the Phil Silvers role included Woody Allen.

Phil Silvers was dramatically losing his site during filming, so has to wear both contact lenses and glasses.

Sheena the Camel was on loan from Chessington Zoo. Unfortunately it had never walked on sand before, so tracks had to be laid down for it.

Although not involved in the film, three days into shooting Sid James was rushed into hospital with a heart attack.

Whilst buried in the sand, Jim Dale and Peter Butterworth has to be wrapped in blankets and given brandy to keep the cold out.

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