Carry on Jack (1963)
A Carry on Mutiny
After 8 1/2 years in training Albert Poop-Decker (Bernard Cribbins) finally qualifies as a Midshipman and gets his first commission aboard the Venus. But Poop-Decker is a bit accident prone and finds himself falling foul of the devious Sally (Juliet Mills) who is desperate to get to Spain. Press ganged by a bunch of naval officers Poop Decker finds himself aboard the Venus as a lowly sailor working for the less than brave Captain Fearless (Kenneth Williams - Carry on Constable). But their journey through Spanish waters is littered with danger including pirates and also a mutiny and somehow Poop-Decker finds himself in the midst of it all along with Sally who is masquerading as him.
"Carry on Jack" isn't the worst "Carry On" movie it's not even a bad "Carry On" movie but it almost doesn't feel like a "Carry On" movie at all. Firstly it actually has a storyline, a comedy one but still a storyline which is more prominent than you would expect from a "Carry On" movie. And although "Carry on Jack" features Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey as well as a very small role for Jim Dale it comes up very short on those recognizable stars who you expect to see in a "Carry On" movie. As such it just doesn't feel right, not like a proper "Carry On" movie and with very few jokes which revel in sexual innuendo it has the feeling of being something else.
So there is that storyline and for once it is more than just a vehicle for the various gags. What we basically get is the tale of newly qualified Midshipman Albert Poop-Decker who being a bit accident prone and naive gets himself into various scrapes even before he takes his first post aboard the Venus. It's by no means the most imaginative of storylines but often seems to take precedence over the comedy which for a "Carry on" movie is unusual.
Talking of which the comedy on show in "Carry on Jack" is also not what you expect from a "Carry On" movie. There is a distinct lack of sexual innuendo which is surprising as part of the storyline revolves around Sally masquerading as a Midshipman. And what we get in place are a lot of gags revolving around Poop-Decker being naive and accident prone which is fun but not that original. In fact compared to many better known "Carry On" movies "Carry on Jack" feels quite week on the humour front and whilst it will make you smile it is hard to remember any of the jokes when it is over.
But the real issue for me is that "Carry on Jack" comes up short on those regular "Carry On" actors and whilst we get Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey in stereotypical roles it's not enough. Maybe if the like of Joan Sims and Sid James has been cast then "Carry on Jack" could have been more memorable but without them it is lacking. So instead of the "Carry On" regulars we get Bernard Cribbins as Poop-Decker and Juliet Mills as Sally and whilst they both try to deliver the comedy of their characters and situations it just doesn't work or at least doesn't become memorable. The thing is that if this hadn't been a "Carry On" movie and just a comedy the casting of Cribbins and Mills may have worked but because it is a "Carry On" you expect certain things and you don't get them.
What this all boils down to is that "Carry on Jack" is an okay movie but not a memorable one. From the more prominent storyline, the weaker less risque gags and the distinct lack of "Carry On" stalwarts it basically feels wrong and doesn't really feel like a "Carry On" movie.
Tags: Carry On Movies
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