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on 28 January 2002
The ninth movie in the series (and the last in black and white) sees the team having go at the Bond series. Eric Barker makes a welcome return as the head of MI6 (in his last Carry On... for 15 years). Barker has no option other than send out a gang of trainee agents on the latest mission as no other agents are available. A secret formula has been stolen and it's their job to find it. Heading the agents is Desmond Simpkins (Kenneth Williams in "snide" voice for the whole film) joined by Harold Crump (Bernard Cribbins in his last Carry On... for 27 years!), Charlie Bind (Charles Hawtrey) and Daphne Honeybutt (Barbara Windsor in her series debut). Throughout the film we encounter Jim Dale and Dilys Laye in supporting roles. It's a fast-paced, riotous farce from beginning to end and some of the Bond observations are spot on. The best performance comes from Williams who uses his "Stop messin' about" voice throughout.
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on 22 May 2006
Carry On Spying marked the debut appearance in a Carry On Film of the bubbly Barbara Windsor who would become a sex symbol in the series. This amusing paraody of the James Bond films is another classic in the series. Desmond Simpkins (Kenneth Williams) along with his three extra-special agents by his side (Barbara Windsor, Bernard Cribbins, Charles Hawtrey) all plot to take on the malevolent powers of STENCH, namely Dr. Crow, Milchmann and The Fat Man, members of the Society for the Extinction of non-conforming Humans. Clues to the exact location of STENCH HQ lead the quartret of spies into the heart of Harry Lime country in Vienna, the Casbah and finally the corridors of the Orient Express.

Fun and adventures all the way with the gangs reaching new heights of invention and parody in this one. The cast are all excellent, especially Barbara Windsor who sparkles in every scene. A comic gem!
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on 31 August 2009
Although I yield to no-one in my admiration of Sid James, Carry Ons Spying and Screaming are two of the most enjoyable, fully-realised movies of that long series, even without his presence. Sid gradually became the dominant personality in the films and, fun as that always was, there's a sense that, in his absence, the rest of the gang get more of a look in, get more of the centre-stage business to do and consequently raise their game bigtime.

The beautiful double act of Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey sets the tone, their performances a perfect balance of knowingness and cheeky abandonment to whatever fun is waiting around the next corner. It says a lot about how brittle and inflexible the James Bond machine was becoming even in 1964 that the Broccoli organisation brought out the lawyers and instructed them to cut the legs off this mildest, most affectionate of parodies. Fortunately for us, they didn't succeed beyond forcing Hawtrey's "James Bind" to become "Charles Bind" -a name that director Lindsay Shonteff also used in his seventies Bond take-off, "Licensed to Love and Kill", starring (and I'm not kidding) Gareth Hunt.

But Bond isn't the only target for the spoofery. The Third Man gets a wink, as does Modesty Blaise; in fact, every cliché (sorry: archetype) of the spy genre has a friendly raspberry blown in its face, and the fact that "Carry On Spying" ticks a lot of the boxes more satisfyingly than at least half a dozen of the Bond films says a lot for the makers' fondness for the genre they were sending up (and it's important to stress that this is a spoof, not a piss-take; there's no sneering involved).

This was Barbara Windsor's first Carry On film, pub-quizzers, and also stars Sir (at least in our house) Bernard Cribbins. And any film that features Victor Maddern as a super-spy belongs on some kind of plinth in the museum of Sunday afternoon hangover telly.
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The 9th in the Carry On series, and the last to be filmed in black and white, is one of the best. It finds the gang kind of biting the hand that feeds them, Pinewood. The home of James Bond was also the home of the Carry On mob, so with Peter Rogers, Gerald Thomas and Talbot Rothwell spying an opportunity to spoof 007, they did so, whilst also revelling in the chance for some film noir dalliances, notably The Third Man.

The cast is this time headed up by Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor (making her Carry On debut), Bernard Cribbins and Charles Hawtrey. They are four less than stellar operatives for British Intelligence tasked with retrieving a top secret formula that has been stolen by STENCH. During their mission they are helped by Carstairs (Jim Dale), and just who or what is the mysterious organisation known as SNOG? Are they friends or in league with the evil Dr. Crow?

Though dotted throughout with some written innuendo, "Spying" is still in touch with the more genial comedy that was evident in the early years - particularly the black and whites. This is good honest comedy, with visual exuberance and witty repartee the order of the day. Watching it now you find it holds up very well, sure it's a bit fruity and nutty, but a freshness exists here and it lets some damn fine actors loose to show their respective skills. It also looks terrific, the noir photography by Alan Hume sparkling.

A prime Carry On movie for those who prefer their Carry On's more knowingly jolly than the later bawdy entries. 9/10
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on 17 May 2014
One of the Carry Ons that I don't recall seeing on TV for a long long time but recently got a dvd set with it in it. And I really enjoyed it right from the opening sequence - the milkman is brilliant. The Carry On team was very quick to spoof James Bond which hit the big screen with Dr No in 1962 followed by from Russia With Love 1963 and Goldfinger 1964. Why list these? Carry on Spying came out in 1964 so only two Bonds could have been seen by then. There is of course a more direct link to The Third Man (and better film buffs than me will no doubt spy out others!) but the point is that Bond might have got its own back by spoofing Carry on Spying by using a milkman in much the same way in The Living Daylights! I'm sure it was unintentional, but.... There is much to enjoy with the terrible puns and daft antics of Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey (agent OO-O), Bernard Cribbens and Barbara Windsor and let's not forget Eric Barker who appeared in the early Carry Ons and deserves to be recognised as such. They all looked so young in this one and Barbara Windsor was superbly bubbly in her first Carry on role in Spying. Each of them was perfectly cast in their roles and there is a plot that holds the whole thing together. But then who cares if it didn't? The scenes were nicely filmed and the sets look really quite good. The Carry Ons have - mostly - a charm of their own and perhaps I'm a creature of my era but I laughed a lot at this one as a kid and perhaps laughed a little more gently now that I'm in my 50s. A very pleasant way to spend an hour and a half.
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on 3 July 2010
Cribbens returns in this classic yarn , not only is this the last one to be made in black and white but also the first to feature Barbara Windsor. Its a blast from beginning to end with gags galore. Kenneth Williams steals the film with his `snide` mode voice. Its a great mickey take of the James Bond films. This is also the last we see Jim Dale in a brief role. Its a shame that Bernard Cribbens didnt make another Carry On until 28 years later in "Carry On Columbus".
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 December 2014
The usually appalling Barbara Windsor makes her 'Carry On' debut in 1964's 'Spying', the ninth film in the series. Her acting is actually pretty good for her standards, and certainly better than some of her later 'Carry On' appearances.

The film itself is certainly no great entry in the series, but it does have some very witty one liners. In an obvious parody of the James Bond movies, a top secret formula is stolen by an organisation, and a group of hapless agents, including Kenneth Williams and Bernard Cribbins, are sent to investigate. If you're familiar with the 'Carry On' movies, you can probably already imagine the chaos and funny situations that occur in the wake of this.

Kenny steals the show, and Jim Dale in cameo (not to mention in a variety of guises) is also fun to watch. 'Spying' is an amusing, enjoyable spoof of a spy movie, and certainly one of the better black-and-white 'Carry Ons'.

As with all the 'red' DVD releases of the 'Carry On' films, aside from 'scene selections', there are no special features at all.
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2009
There are three grades of the classic 'Carry On' Film. Grade 1 includes Cleo, Screaming and Up the Kyber. These are best, cinematic gold, good stories, settings and humour. Grade 3 include any made after 1969 or so, when the progressively diminishing budgets started to have a direct impact on the writing and the subject matter such that the settings became more domestic and bland by necessity. The fact that the British economy was going into the toilet at the same time was probably not a coincidence - we had less to laugh about after 1969.

'Spying' is, in my opinion, a Grade 2. The sets (recycled?) are superb and the supporting actors are flawless with a debut by a grossly underused Jim Dale as British uber-spy Carstairs.

The problem is that the main actors, Williams, Windsor, Hawtree and Cribbins suffer from a lame script and poor characterisation. Kenneth Williams, who was brilliant in the Grade 1 movies above is grossly under-used here and simply reprises his annoying foil from his time opposite Tony Hancock. Hawtree blunders about to no effect and Windsor and Cribbins have a weak love thing going.

So what's to enjoy about this film? Well its tongue-in-cheek homage to 'The Third Man', including zither music, 'Casablanca', with its own fat man (the actor in question had a part in 'Third Man') and 'Dr No' complete with hermaphroditic mad scientist and Modesty Blaise clones. This film does not look cheap as the later ones tended to do.

The film ends too quickly with a wrap-up that disturbs the flow, as if they were running over time or over budget and had to call a halt.

But if you ignore these flaws and simply immerse yourself in the comparatively high and detailed production values in front of you then you will enjoy this film. The opening tracking shot of Victor Maddern as the evil Milkman up to no good is a treat.

So, all in all, this film is worth your valuable viewing time and as the DVD will set you back a bit less than buying a large-sized meal at Burger King, why not?
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on 20 March 2007
the 9th movie in the much loved series and released in 1964 is notable for being the last black and white carry on and the first of the leading lady of carry on babs windsor.This film also mocks the james bond film series and also takes a swipe at the classic films the third man and casablanca.

Starring kenny willams and bernie cribbins,spying takes the gang around the world,more like around the studio chasing after a villain who threatens humanity and with some warped gadgets and some of the worst disguises seen in the history of the world,carry on spying is a real classic with a sense of mischief that few will ever be able to recreate,a worthy addition to anyones collection either as a one off carry on or as part of your carry on collection.
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on 10 December 2014
As with many of these Carry On films on Optimum dvd it says there no special features when there are indeed special features including intersting Audio commentary with cast members & carry on expert Robert Ross. The old Red boxed Dvds mainly on warner bros are indeed only the Feature film. But the optimum dvds (Although stupidly not mentioned on the box covers) have Audio commentaries & other features too.
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