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Best Carry On ever?,
This review is from: Carry On Up The Khyber [DVD] (DVD)
Carry On… movies are never likely to be thought of as comedy classics, and yet they are fondly remembered by those who have seen them on a wet bank holiday Monday through the years, and the regular cast remain household names (Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor to name but a few). All to often they are nothing more than Bawdy sit-coms (Camping, Abroad in particular), yet every now and again they hit the mark, often when dealing with the past. Cleo, Dick, Henry and Don’t Lose Your Head (a film that was monikered Carry On very late on in it’s inception) are great examples of this, but it is Up the Khyber that truly stands the test of time, and is arguably the very best.
There is little point in talking about plot – the Carry On’s never score highly on that in any case – this is all to do with the pitch perfect casting of the regulars (with support from Roy Castle playing the Jim Dale type role) and great performances all round. Sid James once more plays Sid, this time Sir Sydney Ruff-Diamond, with his usual flair, but it is once more left to Kenneth Williams to claim the over-acting honours as his nemesis the Khasi of Khalabar. The cast is rounded out with most the regulars including a fine turn from the inestimable Charles Hawtry as the unfortunate Private Widdle, whose choice of underwear almost brings down British rule in India. Pinewood performs admirably in it’s own role as Imperial India, as does the Welsh Valley that stands in for the real Khyber Pass.
With the Carry On films being re-visited by Carry On London ( which will feature – shudder – soap actors in the major parts), this is a good time to see the original cast at their very best.