Carry On #9 turned its attention to the next most popular and lasting British film series - James Bond. And as a parody of all things Bond, this works really well.
The excellent Talbot Rothwell script is delivered superbly by a top team of stars, including Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor, Charles Hawtrey, and Bernard Cribbins as the clumsily successful group of secret agents whose latest mission is to battle against the evils of STENCH and recover the secret formula stolen by the cunning Milchmann from under the noses of the security forces.
With names such as James Bind, Daphne Honeybutt, and The Fat Man ("Description - Male, Fat.") you know that the level and consistency of the jokes will be best described as thick and fast. And the scenes where our heroes get to grips with The Fat Man (Eric Pohlmann) in the kasbah (including Bernard Cribbins as the least-convincing drag-act I think has ever been seen on screen) and the evil Dr Crow in her secret lair are fast-paced and frenetic. What they do achieve, to great effect, is to capture the mood and style of the early sixties spy thrillers almost as well as Carry On Screaming would do with Hammer Horrors two years later.
Williams and Hawtrey are very good as agents Simkins (the experienced one) and Bind (the effeminate one), whilst Barbara Windsor's first appearance in a Carry On is memorable, and not just for setting the tone of all her other appearances. Bernard Cribbins reprised his clumsy male lead role from Carry On Jack, and whilst the result is enjoyable, after this film the role of young romantic male lead went to Jim Dale, and in fairness to them both, Dale was better in this type of role. In Spying, he puts in some great cameo moments as the 'official' spy Carstairs, and proved his worth to the production team, probably winning the chance to star in the next outing, Carry On Cowboy, in which he excelled.