Kenneth Connor, Sid James and Kenneth Williams in Carry on Cruising (1962)

Happy Cruising

Ironically whilst "Carry on Cruising" appears to have less Carry on regulars than in previous movies and pretty much recycles an idea but in a different location it is surprisingly enjoyable. That idea is basically a small group of new staff making life a misery for their superior who needs everything to run smoothly in order to get a promotion, but where as we had previously seen it used in a police station, school and army barracks this time it is on an ocean liner. But despite "Carry on Cruising" having the familiar storyline and is little more than a collection of gags it is enjoyable with some sharp writing and the smaller cast delivering greater performances than had been the case when there had been more familiar faces.

It's been 10 years since Captain Wellington Crowther (Sid James - Carry on Regardless) took charge if the SS Happy Wanderer and over the years he has built his perfect crew and now one more successful voyage and he is in line for a promotion. But when he discovers he has 5 new members of staff he fears the worst and rightly so as his new First Office, Doctor, Chef, Barman and Steward are an accident prone bunch. And with a curious bunch of passengers on this important voyage the SS Happy Wanderer could become the SS Horrendous Wanderer.

Liz Fraser and Dilys Laye in Carry on Cruising (1962)

So as already mentioned that whilst "Carry on Cruising" sees us setting sail on a holiday cruise the basis of the story is familiar and is about new recruits accidentally messing up time and again. And unsurprisingly not only is this a thin storyline but really only acts as book ends providing the intro and ending. What goes on in between are little sub stories driven by humour from the new chef who suffers from sea sickness, the new ship's doctor falling for a passenger and the new First Officer causing confusion when he thinks the captain has taken to the drink. There is in fact little else to "Carry on Cruising" than this but it strangely works because it skips along going from one funny scene to the next.

Now whilst I say it works it has to be said that "Carry on Cruising" is repetitive when it comes to the humour with repeat jokes about the Doctor trying to woo Flo Castle whilst the Chef keeps on feeling sea sick. And as such when things finally come to a close there is a sense of relief as the humour had grown boring and predictable by the half way mark. But there are some gems of humour in it especially from the wonderful Esma Cannon who is a bundle of nervous energy as the sweet old lady who keeps on cropping up. Add to be honest the actual one liners are some of the best with some sharp delivery to match the sharp writing. Plus of course there is some minor sexual humour as this we have Flo and her friend Glad both being attractive and interested in men.

Now whilst there are plenty of familiar faces in "Carry on Cruising" such as Esma Cannon, Liz Fraser and Dilys Laye it does feel like its short on the big "Carry On" stars with just Sid James, Kenneth Williams and Kenneth Connor in the cast. But ironically it works because this trio deliver plenty of humour and it doesn't feel like the jokes have had to be spread out between a lot of people. And to be honest they are aided by some fun performances especially from Lance Percival who is great fun as the sea sick Chef.

What this all boils down to is that "Carry on Cruising" is both a typical "Carry On" movie and a fun one. The storyline maybe slim and familiar whilst the humour becomes repetitive but the writing is sharp and the jokes are delivered fast so that there is little time to ever become bored. And whilst there are only a few of the major "Carry On" stars it actually feels better as it stops it from being spread out too much.

Tags: Carry On Movies