2 April 2016 | l_rawjalaurence
Affectionate Tribute to a British Institution
Produced to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the release of the first CARRY ON film, WHAT A CARRY ON! celebrates the long-running series of comedy capers, including interviews with stars who are no longer with us such as Joan Sims, Jack Douglas, Wendy Richard, Peter Gilmore, and producer Peter Rogers. The only people left of the original team at the time of writing are Leslie Phillips, Barbara Windsor, and Jim Dale.
Viewers will not learn much about the series that they do already know from this program: there are some off-color jokes including one about Kenneth Williams's modesty; as well as an interview with James Ferman, once the chief of the British Board of Film Censors, who tells us a lot about the struggles he endured with the Carry On team about the extent of nudity and innuendo in the films. By the time CARRY ON ENGLAND was released (1976), the series had lost a lost of its luster; the director Gerald Thomas was even prepared to include a sequence with four bare-breasted women, but thankfully it was cut before release.
The last CARRY ON film, CARRY ON COLUMBUS (1992) is widely regarded as an artistic and critical disaster: many of the younger comedians who tried to recreate the unique atmosphere of the earlier episodes (Julian Clary, Alexei Sayle) lacked the timing characteristic of the older cast (June Whitfield, Phillips). This failing had little or nothing to do with the actors' capabilities (or lack of them); by 1992 Gerald Thomas and Peter Rogers were clearly past it as director and producer, and should never have been commissioned to complete the project.
Aficionadoes of the series will enjoy a wallow in cinematic nostalgia.