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Carry on Up the Jungle (1970)

 
 
 

Tarzan of the Japes

I'm flabbergasted! My gast has never been so flabbered! - Professor Inigo Tinkle

Sid James and Joan Sims in Carry on Up the Jungle (1970)

Deep in the jungle, Bill Boosey (Sid James - Carry on Dick) is leading an expedition consisting of bird watchers Professor Inigo Tinkle (Frankie Howerd) and Claude Chumley (Kenneth Connor) as well as Lady Evelyn Bagley (Joan Sims) and her assistant June (Jacki Piper) who is looking for her lost child. All is going reasonably well until a gorilla, a Tarzan (Terry Scott) like character, a tribe of hungry natives and a tribe of randy women all end up causing chaos along the way.

The best way to describe "Carry on Up the Jungle" is that it is an uneasy pastiche on a series of different movies. It starts as if it is sending up the likes of "Mogambo" with an expedition into the jungle fraught with danger from the wild life and the local tribes. Then it brings in an element of Tarzan and almost a bit of King Kong before ending up into the realms of an all women tribe, think "The Wild Women of Wongo" and you get an idea of where "Carry on Up the Jungle" ends up. The trouble is that it gets more and more ludicrous whilst being completely sexist and politically incorrect through out. And whilst "Carry on Up the Jungle" is a movie from a bygone era, the 70s when these things weren't an issue, it is by no means a classic "Carry on" movie.

Terry Scott and Jacki Piper in Carry on Up the Jungle (1970)

The storyline to "Carry on Up the Jungle" actually starts quite well and it's sort of amusing as we watch all the randy goings on as this small group of people go through the jungle. It's as close as it gets to being classic "Carry on" with innuendos, mild nudity and humour surrounding bodily functions. But then it starts going a little bit too daft as we get the Tarzan-esque storyline thrown in with Terry Scott in a loin cloth. And then it goes completely overboard as we then get the storyline about the all women tribe the Aphrodisia's who only want men for one things, yes sex.

The annoying thing is that the ideas are quite good if done separately but drawn into one movie makes it all gets a little too crazy, even for a "Carry on" movie. And as such it goes from being quite funny with innuendo to all out bawdy with unsubtle sex jokes. It's as if the different storylines were scripted by different people and so the level of humour changes through out. In fact the longer "Carry on Up the Jungle" goes on the less it's about the humorous wordplay and more about slapstick which just doesn't quite work.

With things becoming more absurd the longer "Carry on Up the Jungle" goes on it has to be said that the performances also go from good to bad. In those early scenes the group consisting of Sid James, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Frankie Howerd and Jacki Piper there is genuine amusement as they basically bounce of each other. But then you get Terry Scott in a loin cloth and a gorilla brought in and the performances drop off to the point of being silly. And they get worse when we get the Aphrodisia tribe with it feeling quite tired as if the stars were actually hoping it will all be over soon.

Of course watching "Carry on Up the Jungle" now and it's impossible not to cringe at the political incorrectness. You have Bernard Bresslaw with a blacked up face pretending to be from a tribe and saying things like "nicky nooky boss". Plus of course you have all the blatant sexism which seems to go from subtle to over the top. But whilst it makes "Carry on Up the Jungle" a bit uncomfortable to watch and laugh at now when it's being politically incorrect it is a product of a bygone era.

what this all boils down to is that "Carry on Up the Jungle" is sadly not a classic "Carry on" movie despite featuring many of the regulars. It all starts quite well and is genuinely amusing but then as the storyline keeps on developing bringing in the Tarzan like character and then the randy tribe of women it just gets a little too crazy.

Tags: Carry On Movies

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