Carmichael's Calamity Cruise

Janette Scott and Ian Carmichael in Double Bunk (1961)

When their landlady catches them in bed together, Jack (Ian Carmichael) and his fiancee Peggy (Janette Scott) are forced to find some where else to live. That some where else ends up a houseboat which needs plenty of tender loving care, but it is all they can afford and with a place to live together they can get married. Having fixed the boat up they decide to take Jack's best mate Sid (Sidney James) and girlfriend Sandra (Liz Fraser) on a boat trip down the river but end up not only in France but having run out of fuel and supplies as well.

Calamity Carmichael is at it again, if you don't know what I mean by that then find yourself a few of his British comedies from the 60s and you will soon discover he frequently played the nice guy who ends up suffering when one accident after another befalls him, more often than not down to something that his character has done. And that is what you get in "Double Bunk" as it is Jack's fault they got kicked out of their digs and it was his fault they ended up buying a leaking houseboat and I could go on because pretty much everything which goes wrong in this movie is some way or another down to Jack.

Liz Fraser and Sidney James in Double Bunk (1961)

The thing is that whilst the humour in "Double Bunk" is strictly on the familiar side with Ian Carmichael, Janette Scott, Sidney James, and Liz Fraser all playing routine characters it is still moderately good fun. And in many ways it is because you have the actors playing to type with Sidney James playing the jack the lad best mate whilst Liz Fraser is his busty girlfriend and Carmichael is awfully nice. As such whilst we get all the comical misadventures and mistakes it is how the actors play their characters which is amusing rather than some joke such as when Jack is carrying Peggy over the fresh hold the gang plank breaks.

What this all boils down to is that "Double Bunk" is one of those 60s British comedies which is driven by the cast delivering the sort of characters and humour which they were known for. In fairness it is still entertaining but very much a movie for those who are fans of 60s British comedies especially those which starred Ian Carmichael and Sidney James.

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