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Carry On Don't Lose Your Head [VHS] [1967]

4.7 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Kenneth Williams, Sidney James, Jim Dale, Charles Hawtrey, Peter Butterworth
  • Directors: Gerald Thomas
  • Writers: Talbot Rothwell
  • Producers: Peter Rogers
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • VHS Release Date: 11 Aug. 2000
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004T8SM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 321,013 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

In the grim days of the French revolution, citizens Camembert and Bidet are no match for the 'Black Fingernail'. Sid James stars as the heroic Englishman in the 'Carry On' spoof of 'The Scarlet Pimpernel'. With Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims and Jim Dale.

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Carry On Don't Lose Your Head parodies the adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel, with crinkly cackling Sid James as master of disguise the Black Fingernail and Jim Dale as his assistant Lord Darcy. He must rescue preposterously effete aristocrat Charles Hawtrey from the clutches of Kenneth Williams' fiendish Citizen Camembert and his sidekick Citizen Bidet (Peter Butterworth). The Black Fingernail is assisted in his efforts to thwart the birth of the burgeoning republic by the almost supernatural stupidity of his opponents, who fail to recognise the frankly undisguisable Sid James even when dressed as a flirty young woman.

What with an executioner who is tricked into beheading himself in order to prove the efficacy of his own guillotine, it's all a little too easy. As usual, no groan-worthy pun is left unturned, or unheralded by the soundtrack strains of a long whistle or wah-wah trumpet. This is pretty silly stuff even by Carry On standards, with most of the cast barely required to come out of first gear and an overlong climactic swordfight sequence hardly raising the dramatic stakes. Most of the humour here resides neither in the script nor the characterisation but in the endlessly watchable Williams' whooping, nasal delivery (occasionally lapsing into broad Cockney) and the jowl movements of the always-underrated Butterworth. --David Stubbs --This text refers to the DVD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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By Libretio VINE VOICE on 9 April 2003
Format: DVD
DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD

(UK - 1967)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: Mono

During the French Revolution, the villainous Citizen Camembert (a perpetually outraged Kenneth Williams) goes in search of the notorious 'Black Fingernail' (Sid James), an unidentified British aristocrat who's been crossing the English Channel to rescue his French counterparts from the guillotine.

The second and final entry in the long-running series not to feature 'Carry On' in its title due to political fall-out from a change of UK distributor (the first was FOLLOW THAT CAMEL in 1966), DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD demonstrates yet again that screenwriter Talbot Rothwell was at his best when indulging his fondness for historical burlesque. Sumptuously mounted on various high-blown locations (including Clandon Park and Waddesdon Manor, with interiors filmed at Pinewood studios), the film's ribald parody of the French Revolution encompasses everything from silly character names (Camembert is the local 'big cheese', aided and abetted by the gormless Citizen Bidet, while the Black Fingernail conceals his true identity under the foppish pseudonym of Sir Rodney Ffing - "with two F's!") to puns, sight gags and lowbrow slapstick. In other words, the formula as before. But like so many of the better Carry On's, the comedy is rooted in a well-developed storyline, augmented by the usual array of flamboyant characters and eccentric supporting players.

Highlights include Charles Hawtrey as a jolly French aristocrat, and Joan Sims as Williams' Cockney-spouting sister (Sims and Hawtrey share an unlikely seduction sequence midway through the film which culminates in a terrific 'please yourself' gag).
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Format: DVD
This must be one of the funniest of the Carry On series. Set during the French Revolution, a rebel known as the black fingernail begins to cause havoc by setting free the imprisoned peers, lords, ladies and royalty.
With inuendos in every sentence and a great script, this film is one of my personal all-time favourites.
Even if you're not too keen on Carry On films, you will like this one!
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Format: VHS Tape
This carry on has a marvellous story, great acting and hilarious jokes in this carry on about the French revolution. Kenneth Williams plays the hilarious evil Citizen Camembert, who is chopping off all the heads of the french aristocracy, along with his stupid little assistant, Citizen Bidet. Meanwhile back in England Sid James and Jim Dale here about this and come over to france to save all the poor aristocracy, using many different tricks and disguises, and always leaving behind him a picture of two fingers stuck up and one of the fingernails is black, so they are notoriously know in France as The Black Fingernail!
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This is a beautifully produced and acted film. There is also a touch of elegance in the ballroom scene with quite stunning costumes and charming music framing the wonderfully silly story. The sword fight at ten minutes is a tad too long but this is a minor quibble. Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire the former home of the Rothchilds and now a National Trust property doubles up as a French chateau and the quality of the location is typical of the producers desire to show only the best.
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Format: DVD
Dandy fop Sir Rodney Effing has an alter ego, The Black Fingernail. A man, who along with his partner, Lord Darcy Pue, rescue French aristocrats from the clutches of the revolutionary police chief, Citizen Camembert.

Carry On producer Peter Rogers had severed his links with Anglo Amalgamated and swiftly signed up with Rank Organisation. Miffed at losing their number one cash franchise, and no doubt with a touch of petulance, Anglo's brass refused Rogers permission to using the "Carry On" prefix. Thus this picture was initially released as just "Don't Lose Your Head" in 1966. Eventually common sense prevailed, and this rightly became known as the 13th franchise entry as "Carry On Don't Lose Your Head" {tho the American release of it being called "Carry On Pimpernel" makes better sense one feels}.

Spoofing The Scarlet Pimpernel legacy with a ream of innuendo and double entendre's, the Carry On team deliver one of the better efforts from the series. This is in the main down to Talbot Rothwell's screenplay. Rothwell wrote the screenplay for 20 of the series efforts, he was someone who director and producer both trusted, and crucially that the cast also had faith in. Here his writing is excellent, if of course you be a fan of the saucy shenanigans that came with this particular part of British cinema that is? With characters called Citizen Camembert {refered to as the big cheese, get it?}, Duc de Pommfrit, Citizen Bidet and Sir Rodney Effing {yes that's two F's}, Rothwell lets loose with wave after wave of cheeky dialogue, all delivered with comic aplomb from the likes of Sid James, Joan Sims, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Jim Dale and the undervalued Peter Butterworth.

There's also a real good production from Rogers.
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This was one of the best period Carry On films, originally released in 1966. It is set during the French Revolution and is a parody of the Scarlet Pimpernel stories. It stars Sid James as Lord Ffing, a.k.a The Black Fingernail and, among others, the inimitable Kenneth Williams as his nemesis and head of the French Secret Police, Citizen Camembert. It also features Peter Butterworth in a larger than usual role and Jim Dale, as the Black Fingernail's partner in crime. I have always enjoyed this film and I still find myself laughing when I watch it now and at the exact same scenes too. I can completely recommend it to anyone interested in the Carry On films, or classic British comedy in general. It is a cut above most of their 70s output and one of their best overall. I give this four stars, without any hesitation or criticisms at all. Superb film!
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