Carry On Girls (1973) was the 25th entry in this staggeringly long-running British comedy film series. The Carry On films were beginning to slide in popularity at this stage and where as at one point at least three Carry On films were made per year, by 1973 the productions had slid down to just once a year.
Charles Hawtrey (who had been disposed off after his drunken antics on the Carry On Abroad set and after continual disagreements with producer, Peter Rogers over wanting his name elevated above the title which no Carry On star was ever rewarded), Kenneth Williams and the formidable Hattie Jaques are all sadly missed but there is surprisingly enough fun, laughter and games to enjoy throughout and the main regulars in the series that are present liven it up no end.
In Carry On Girls, the typically thin plot is centered around a tacky, end-of-pier beauty contest which faces opposition immediately from the town's womens libbers group, led by Councillor Prodworthy, played marvelously by June Whitfield. Sid James organises the whole farce and lets the girls involved in the beauty contest stay at his reluctant girlfriend, Chole's (Joan Sims) hotel for free! Sids eye soon strays onto the bubbly Barbara Windsor who arrives on a motorbike in complete tomboy mode and when taking part in the first photo shoot is unveiled to be stunningly beautiful.
The films climax is where it really scores best, where the beauty contest ends in complete disaster. The girls costumes are all laced with itching powder, the floor is made slippery and to top if off, Councillor Prodworthy turns on the sprinklers that completely showers the entire audience. This is followed by a fun go kart chase as Sid James flees all of the enraged customers who all want their money back, having been soaked in the theatre. Barbara Windsor is hot on Sid's trail on a motorbike. The last scene sees Sid James and Barbara Windsor riding merrily along a motorway on Barbaras motorbike. If you wander why Barbara looks so terrified as she rides the bike, its because she had only learnt to ride a motorbike specifically for Carry On Girls and was not happy in doing so. Those anxious looks on her face as the film ends with a shot of Sid and Babs on the motorway on the scooter are all genuine! Silly but great fun.
The cast are all on top form, though any scene which Sid James and Barbara Windsor share raises a smile and a laugh with their undeniable chemistry shining through (even though Sid James was nearly twice Barbaras age).
Joan Sims is underused in this one and is unfairly pigeon holed into a supporting performance which she plays efficently where as Kenneth Connor plays the towns Mayor, a blatantly incompetent and pompous figure who causes some amusement though is mainly th butt of a joke.
Patsy Rolands has a meatier part in this one and comes into her own. She plays the Mayor's frustated and down trodden wife to utter comic perfection and her character rebels in the end joining forces with June Whitfields team of womens libbers.
Loveable giant, Bernard Bresslaw pops up as Sid James sidekick in organising the beauty contest. The scenes wre he dresses in drag, deliberately to attract attention from the media in a bid to drum up publicity and generate interest in the contest are quite hilarious!
The sultry Valerie Leon plays his dowdy fiancee who joins the beauty contest in the end and is transformed into the glamorous and stunning beauty she always truly was. For some odd reason however all of Valerie Leons lines are dubbed over by June Whitfield! Bizarre!
Carry On Girls is a classic entry in the series and a highly enjoyable one at that.