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  Carry On Behind I Beg Your Pardon!
Year: 1975
Director: Gerald Thomas
Stars: Elke Sommer, Kenneth Williams, Bernard Bresslaw, Kenneth Connor, Jack Douglas, Joan Sims, Windsor Davies, Peter Butterworth, Liz Fraser, Patsy Rowlands, Ian Lavender, Adrienne Posta, Donald Hewlett, Carol Hawkins, Sherrie Hewson, David Lodge
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: Professor Roland Crump (Kenneth Williams) is holding a talk on his field of speciality, which is archaeology, but after he drops a mammoth bone he gets a shade discombobulated and mixes up his notes, though he does manage to get the film reel shown to his narrative accompaniment. Unforturnately, there has been a mix-up and the reel projected is of a stripper, which gets the attention of the audience but when Professor Crump notices he is horrified and does his best to stop it. Later, he is able to put this behind him and meet his new assistant, Professor Anna Vrooshka (Elke Sommer)...

That's right, an international star in a Carry On movie, probably the first significant one since Phil Silvers in Follow That Camel, though Elke fitted in better here than Phil had, game for any of the innuendos which the script could muster. Which was just as well considering that by 1975 the smut was getting as strong as it ever was as producer Peter Rogers was forced to make these less family friendly so when before only the mums and dads would get the bluer gags, now they were competing with the likes of Confessions of a Window Cleaner and its ilk, which were outperforming efforts such as this.

So we got nudity too, though no actual sex scenes, as if Rogers was reluctantly saying, OK, it's the seventies, if this is what you want then we'll give it to you. In truth this decade, the last where the series was regularly produced, marked a substantial decline in quality, and now Talbot Rothwell was no longer penning the screenplays many felt that the links to its heritage were beginning to be let go - neither Sid James nor Barbara Windsor were involved this time, for example (busy with more lucrative stage work), and Jim Dale (in America) and Charles Hawtrey (sacked for drunkenness) were nowhere to be seen either. Thus newer faces were peppered amongst what regulars remained.

Not that they were especially bad at what they were asked to do, with Windsor Davies, then a TV star with It Ain't Half Hot Mum, making a fair enough double act with Jack Douglas as a couple of frustrated husbands let off the leash at the camp site the archaeologists end up at for an excavation. Yeah, a camp site, suggesting the lure of revisiting past glories with Carry On Camping was too much to resist, as with their medical farces that got an essential sequel with this. There wasn't much of a story, but writer Dave Freeman knew his way around Ye Olde Joke Book and was able to conjure up a good many saucy quips and misunderstandings, including a naughty mynah bird (voiced by director Gerald Thomas) and an mass accident with sticky chairs for the finale.

So when people say Carry On Behind was the last one in the franchise to actually be much good, they're not wrong - it didn't reach the heights of its sixties heyday, but against the odds for humour that was evidently wearing thin due to lack of inspiration, there were more than a few good laughs here, enough to make it worth a look even if you'd dismissed the latter day entries as a dead loss. Just when they are running a situation into the ground, such as Davies and Douglas' hopeless courting of campers Sherrie Hewson and Carol Hawkins, or Bernard Bresslaw's arguments with mother-in-law Joan Sims, or Williams constantly getting the wrong end of the stick about Sommer's poor English, the film surprises you with a neat recovery and a jape that prompts the giggles. Sommer especially was a breath of fresh air, surprisingly for a foreign talent "getting" the British humour and sparking the proceedings into goodnatured life. If this had been the last Carry On, it would have been a fine note to end on. Music by Eric Rogers, of course.
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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