Turner Classic Movies is showing a new CARRY ON movie every Saturday. As there are over thirty of them, the festival could go on for many, many months. I know these films are an acquired taste, but I love them dearly. Full of low-brow, music-hall-style humor, they’re sort of the British equivalent to Abbott and Costello movies. The stories are loosely structured to allow a variety of English comedians a chance to do their bits.
And what comedians! Sidney James. Kenneth Williams. Charles Hawtrey. Joan Sims. Kenneth Connor. If you don’t find delight in Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey playing a scene in drag, I feel quite sorry for you.
As an American, these films come to me as if from another planet. I know British films (the Ealing comedies, the Hammer horrors) pretty well, but I don’t know any of these actors’ other work. I understand that the great Kenneth Williams was quite a presence on the radio. I’ve heard of Charles Hawtrey in an off-hand comment by John Lennon in a Beatles’ song. Of course, I’ve seen Sidney James in other films – he got around quite a bit. I know Joan Hickson from her marvelous Miss Marple later in life. But the rest of them? They seem to exist only in these marvelously, innocently raunchy films.
Raunchy? Yes. Where can you see Wilfred Hyde-White with a flower up his bum? Innocent? Well, just barely. Funny? That’s a matter of taste. Watch them. Decide for yourself.