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  Please Turn Over Book Of The Month Blub
Year: 1960
Director: Gerald Thomas
Stars: Ted Ray, Jean Kent, Leslie Phillips, Joan Sims, Julia Lockwood, Tim Seely, Charles Hawtrey, Dilys Laye, Lionel Jeffries, June Jago, Colin Gordon, Joan Hickson, Victor Maddern, Ronald Adam, Cyril Chamberlain, Myrtle Reed, Marianne Stone, Leigh Madison
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Breakfast in the Halliday household, and the head of the house, father Edward (Ted Ray) is once again exasperated with his daughter Jo (Julia Lockwood) as she spills tea over his newspaper and excuses herself by explaining she wasn't concentrating. That's her trouble, as Edward angrily points out, she simply doesn't concentrate, but there is something about her he does not know: Jo has been applying herself to a personal project these past few weeks, and it's about to hit the bookshelves. And it's a very personal project indeed...

This was produced by the team behind the Carry On series, though markedly different in humour; yes, some of it was saucy, but it wasn't the seaside postcard japery that series became famous for, as this was an adaptation of a hit stage play and its main bonus was a lengthy stretch in the middle where we got to see the cast act out Jo's book, for when it is released it becomes an instant bestseller. This is thanks to everyone believing it is based in truth, so when they leaf through the pages of Naked Revolt it's as if they're reading about suburbia laid bare, when in fact it's a tissue of lies spawned from the seventeen-year-old's fertile imagination, though fans think they can spot who the characters are based upon.

Although Jo doesn't tell her family about this even when the novel has been published, they find out soon enough when people start staring and giving them funny looks in the street, and there's a rumble of discontent around the community that this could have been created in the quiet streets of their local area. Except it's not so much discontent as secret delight, and if nothing else Please Turn Over relayed the appeal of gossip, whether it be true or in this case fabricated, as long as it was as sensational as possible then so much the better. But while obviously based on the real life tale of Grace Metalious and her book Peyton Place, this was far from satirical.

Soon the family are scandalised, but it's not only them who are dragged into this as so are the local doctor (Leslie Phillips), Edward's secretary (Dilys Laye), and friend of the family and driving instructor Ian (Lionel Jeffries), and more, though Ian is actually quite flattered by his stand-in because he's a lot more sophisticated than he is in real life. Not to mention actually being the secret father of the Jo representation! The film enjoys a lot of mileage out of the characters getting all hot under the collar about everyone thinking they are as decadent as the book says they are, but in truth it's never quite as hilarious as you'd like considering the talent available, with only maid Joan Sims standing out as a catchphrase-delivering highlight.

Especially when Edward and his wife Janet (Jean Kent) settle down to read the thing, which is the cue for us to find out what the fuss was about as it is played out in front of us. This is where the work of the opening half hour pays off to some extent as it's fun to see how Jo has envisaged and recast those around her into the roles of dissolute adulterers, mistresses and and lotharios, fairly racy for 1960 but not something unfamiliar to viewers of modern soap operas, only this was supposed to be funny. Again, Sims gets the best opportunities as a now-French maid, quipping such mangled phrases as "Pour l'amour de Mike!", but this is only one scene; elsewhere, respectable doctor Phillips turns into the womaniser he would more usually play with female patients throwing themselves at his feet and being duly taken advantage of. As for Ray, he may have been a big star on radio, but his film career never really took off, as he's fine here but rather too bad tempered to be appealing. Please Turn Over was amusing to a point, but not some lost gem. Music by Bruce Montgomery.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Gerald Thomas  (1920 - 1993)

British director responsible for every film in the Carry On series. Started as an assistant editor before debuting with the childrens' film Circus Friends. Thriller Timelock followed, but the success of 1958’s bawdy Carry On Sergeant launched one of the most successful series in British cinema. Thomas directed 30 Carry On films up until 1978’s Carry On Emmannuelle, returning in 1992 to deliver his final film, Carry On Columbus. Other films include the Carry On-esque Nurse on Wheels and The Big Job, plus the big screen version of Bless this House.

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