Carry on Sergeant becomes Carry on Captain
Having been assigned a new base Captain S. Melly (Kenneth Connor - Carry on Behind) is shocked to discover he is in charge of an experimental mixed sex base. He's even more shocked at the lack of discipline as the recruits ignore orders in favour of getting their leg over. Determined to stop the fraternizing Captain Melly sets about making life extremely difficult for the recruits, separating them by barbed wire and basically acting like a little Hitler to try and get his way.
Before "Carry on England" came out in 1976 the series had gone majorly down hill, regulars were not returning, old stories and gags were being recycled and they'd started to rely more on nudity rather than clever humour to placate audiences. I wish I could say that "Carry on England" was different but sadly it wasn't with less than a handful of "Carry On" stalwarts returning and a storyline which feels like it's been thrown together using the left overs from "Carry on Sergeant". To be honest if all you want is some mindless titillation about a mixed army camp where the recruits just want to get their leg over then it will probably amuse, and various familiar faces such as Patrick Mower, Windsor Davies, Johnny Briggs as well as Melvyn Hayes will provide some amusement. But for those who loved the cleverness and fun of the early "Carry on" movies will feel a distinct sense of disappointment from watching "Carry on England".
"Carry on England" does have this feel that it's been cobbled together from an alternative idea for the first "Carry On" movie "Carry On Sergeant". We're back on an Army base with recruits who have no real interest in serving in the army but it has the added element of being a mixed sex base and the recruits basically getting away with an easy life and getting their leg over. And so we have the less than original idea of a new Captain being stationed at the base who tries to stop all the fraternizing whilst whipping them into shape. Of course you don't expect a great storyline from a "Carry On" movie and to be honest whilst seriously unoriginal it sort of works or at least throws up plenty of opportunities for humour as Captain S. Melly is outsmarted by the randy recruits.
But the trouble is that the opportunities for clever humour are for the most ignored as it prefers to go for cheap titillation more in tune with the likes of "Confessions of a Window Cleaner". There are some fun moments of "Carry On" hilarity as the men and women try to tunnel to each others barracks having been securely separated but these genuinely fun moments are few and far between. Instead we are suppose to laugh at Captain S. Melly getting flustered by the recruits who out smart him and get their leg over, disobeying his command at every opportunity. And sadly this means that "Carry on England" relies heavily on topless, obliging women to try and entertain us.
"Carry on England" isn't helped by the distinct lack of "Carry On" regulars and whilst stalwart Kenneth Connor is as funny as ever as Captain S. Melly the rest of those stalwarts such as Joan Sims and Peter Butterworth might as well not have been involved as they are demoted to bit parts. Even those who had appeared in one or two previous "Carry On" movies such as Windsor Davies and Jack Douglas really fail to capture your attention, with Davies basically delivering a variation on his character from "It Ain't Half Hot Mum".
And so we get the new faces who crop up such as Patrick Mower who leads the randy recruits as Sergeant Len Able and Melvyn Hayes as Gunner Shorthouse who whilst amusing to see them in a "Carry On" movie can't make up for the lack of the originals. Although you have to take your hat off to Diane Langton who as Private Alice Easy is basically filling in for Barbara Windsor and I do mean filling in because she sounds, acts and except for dark hair looks like Barbara Windsor, close your eyes and with a cheeky laugh you would think it was Barbara Windsor.
What this all boils down to is that "Carry on England" was yet another disappointing "Carry on" movie which put another nail in the franchises coffin. I suppose if all you want is some simple titillation and topless women then it will be amusing and spotting the various familiar faces will be quite enjoyable. But for those who enjoyed the fun of the original "Carry on" movies will most likely shed a tear at how far down hill the series had ended up.
Tags: Carry On Movies