Richard O'Sullivan and Kenneth Williams in Carry on Teacher (1959)

Tight Shorts & Teaching Turmoil

Having spent the last 20 years teaching at Maudin Street School, temporary headmaster William Wakefield (Ted Ray) wants to move on to a permanent post as headmaster at a new school. With a visit from a school inspector and a child psychologist on the cards he plans to use the visit to prove that he is the man for the new job by showing how well the school is doing. But nothing runs smoothly when the pupils start misbehaving, lead by tearaway Robin Stevens (Richard O'Sullivan - Every Day's a Holiday) who devises one classroom prank after another to make it appear that the school is out of control and to keep the popular headmaster there.

So unlike so many of the later more popular "Carry On" movies "Carry on Teacher" actually has a storyline as we are introduced to the headmaster and teachers of Maudin Street school as they are about to go through an inspection. And to give it a bit more meaning this visit is important for the stand in headmaster who is hoping it will lead to a promotion and a job at a new school. It is in all honesty a slim storyline, there to be a vehicle for plenty of classroom humour but it is enough and gives all the comedy more of a meaning rather than being just one gag after another.

Joan Sims and Leslie Phillips in Carry on Teacher (1959)

And along with a slightly more important storyline the humour in "Carry on Teacher" is most definitely not what you expect from a "Carry On" movie. The sexual innuendo and risqué ness doesn't really materialise and instead of it there is more innocent fun which was the trademark of these earlier "Carry On" movies. That doesn't mean there is no innuendo as we have Leslie Phillips' character getting flirty with gym teacher Miss Allcock who bends over and splits her tight shorts. But the innuendo and risqué jokes is only there in a minor role and instead we get school kids misbehaving, sawing a leg on a piano, itching powder on door knobs, alcohol in the staff room kettle and the innocence of it all makes it so much more fun. There is nothing original about the jokes but as we watch one teacher after another fall victim of a classroom prank you can't but help smile in what to be honest is very similar to hat you would get in "St. Trinians".

A Knock on effect of the humour being more general is that everyone gets there moment to shine and so whilst there are plenty of familiar faces such as Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims, Charles Hawtrey and Hattie Jacques none of them are the sole focus of "Carry on Teacher". And whilst these "Carry On" regulars all provide plenty of laughs especially Joan Sims who is marvellous as Miss Allcock it is also the guests like Leslie Phillips, Rosalind Knight and Ted Ray who deliver just as many laughs. But to add to this you have the school children and watching a young Richard O'Sullivan as Stevens the leader of all this bad behaviour you can't but help enjoy his mischievous scheming.

What this all boils down to is that "Carry on Teacher" like the other earlier "Carry On" movies is great fun and in many ways superior to those more well known "Carry On" movies from the 60s and 70s. Whilst it is slim the actual storyline brings meaning to all the humour and with it being almost innocent in its level of comedy it is simple, good old fashioned fun.

Tags: Carry On Movies