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Fifty Years Of Carry On [Hardcover]

Richard Webber
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Sep 2008

An energetic mix of parody, farce, slapstick and double entendres, the Carry On films typify the very essence of British comedy. From the National Health Service to the monarchy, no British institution was safe from being sent up by the Carry On team. Here, for the very first time, is the essential biography of this most treasured institution in the world of British cinema.

From fairly inauspicious beginnings, the spectacle of Carry On rapidly rose to great heights. In August 1958 the very first Carry On Film - a low-budget film spotlighting the adventures of a bunch of dysfunctional national servicemen - was warmly received by cinemagoers around the country. A year later, producer Peter Rogers and director Gerald Thomas realised they had struck gold when Carry On Nurse, just as cheaply produced, became the highest grossing film in Britain for the year and became a roaring success in the States, too.

Over the next 20 years, Rogers and Thomas churned out film after film to the delight of millions of fans around the world. The seaside postcard humour, ensemble acting and uncomplicated storylines became trademarks of the Carry On films, which have since become embedded in the public's conscience as British cinema classics.

Fifty Years of Carry On is Richard Webber's detailed history of the Carry On phenomenon - published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first film - and will include an in-depth assessment of each film, complete with individual film synopses, cast lists and transmission details. Contributions from many of those involved will complete this entertaining and very original biography.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Century (4 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844138437
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844138432
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 526,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"One for Carry On naysayers as well as the fans, this anniversary insight into a very British world is filled with waspish bon mots, extensive interviews and lots of amusing detail. A comprehensive and warm biography of the key players, as well as the films themselves." (Empire)

"Richard Webber's book is a chronological trawl through the Carry On series covering everything from early successes like Carry On Sergeant, to classics like Carry On up the Khyber...our most enduring films have been about getting nookie at all costs and the consolations of the biscuit tin. The French got Truffaut, we got Bisto. Bring it on" (Sunday Times)

"enjoyable" (Sunday Telegraph)

"In this sympathetic, well-researched history, Richard Webber retrieves some of the more lubricious lines lost to the British Board of Censors...the Carry Ons have become a part of British film history, like Hitchcock and Hammer horror. As vulgar as flock wallpaper, as cheap as fish and chips, they hold a special place in the hearts of young and old alike" (Telegraph)

"fascinating" (GT (Gay Times))

Book Description

A unique biography of the Carry On phenomenon

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile addition to the Carry On library 9 Sep 2008
By Post Scriptum VINE VOICE
I'm not a huge Carry On fan, so therefore I've been waiting for a book by a 'safe pair of hands' such as Richard Webber (author of very sensible and interesting studies of Dad's Army and Hancock) to cover this comic phenomenon with a fair degree of critical insight as well as the usual enthusiasm, and I'm not disappointed. Although, personally, I feel the quality of the Carry Ons dipped a bit earlier than Webber suggests, and I find the acting in the later films quite often pretty dire, this book offers a convincing and engaging celebration of what made these films (at their best) so enduringly popular. In-depth material on the actors thesmselves will demand another book, but what is here focusses on the films themselves, and, if you want just one Carry On volume on your shelf, this could well be the one to choose.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carry On Must Have ! 13 Jun 2009
Love Carry On ?
Buy It !
I cant say any more than that really.
It contains all the little snippits abut the films, cast, production that will keep you chortling away into the small hours....Oooooh Matron !
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 50 Years of Carry On 5 Jan 2011
As a Carry On geek who has read far too many books on the subject, and seen the films way too many times, I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed in this book.

It is engagingly written, and I could see how, if you didn't know anything about the Carry Ons it would be a great starter (although certain films such as Henry barely get a mention), however, it really doesn't add anything new to the subject. On several occasions the author tells us that an anecote has been told many times before, but deserves telling again (such as the sprayed on grass in Camping, or the sand-phobic camel in Follow That Camel). Disappointingly, this is never really followed up with new nuggets of information - a stale anecdote is still stale even if you point the staleness out to us.

The book may look chunky, but a shockingly large proportion of this is taken up by production notes (cast list, crew etc). Owing to the unimaginative way these are laid out, this takes up far too many pages, and equates to lists of the same names over and over again. Also included is a script for a 'lost' Carry On - this is entirely personal opinion, but that didn't interest me either - so there's a few dozen pages wasted too. The photos aren't that interesting - and there is a woeful lack of pictures from the early Carry Ons (even though the author claims that the Hudis years are his some of his favourites).

I was shocked at how little content there actually is, considering the size of the book, and having taken all of this into account, I really do not think that the cover price is justified - perhaps its more of a semi-decent library loan?
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great story in a disappointing package 19 Oct 2009
Verified Purchase
I've read most books available about the Carry On films and their stars (including Richard Webber's previous book on the series). I managed to get through this one quite quickly and if I'm honest, I didn't learn anything new. It might have been a good idea to have some better illustrations, including original poster artwork and rare production stills. Don't get me wrong, it's a good book to read if you haven't read a Carry On book before but for the price I was just expecting a bit more.
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