Regardless of the Limp Story it's Still a Carry On
Released in 1961 "Carry on Regardless" was the 5th Carry on movie and for me signalled the transition from fun comedies with a simple storyline to those sexual innuendo, set piece movies which ended up defining the franchise. What this means is that for the most "Carry on Regardless" doesn't have a worthwhile storyline as it delivers a series of funny scenes around the employees of the "Helping Hands" agency messing up their various jobs. And whilst the humour is still a lot more innocent than the later "Carry On" movies, more risque, sexual innuendo filled gags creep in especially in a scene where Sid James is mistaken for a doctor and gives a series of nurses in underwear a medical. It doesn't mean that "Carry on Regardless" is a bad movie, in fact it is still good fun but it does come across as a string of set pieces rather than a comedy built around a storyline.
So as already mentioned "Carry on Regardless" really doesn't have much of a storyline and after a brief introduction to several jobless characters getting annoyed at the lack of jobs available at the job centre find themselves going to work for the "Helping Hands" agency. What follows from there is basically one gag after another as each of these unemployed people is sent out to do a job and make a mess of it. So when Francis Courtenay, played by Kenneth Williams, is sent to walk someone's pet he is shocked when it is a chimp and so we get the humour of him struggling to control the chimp. And it goes on with others having similar misfortunes when going to do jobs especially when a mix up at the offices causes them all to get the wrong jobs. As such "Carry on Regardless" is not a movie which demands your concentration.
As for the humour well obvious is the best way to describe it especially with several of the "Carry On" stalwarts appearing in stereotypical roles. It does have some fun scenes such as Charles Hawtrey ending up in a boxing ring and whilst the run around he gives his opponent is predictable just watching the skinny Hawtrey in a boxing ring is funny in itself. And it has to be said watching Joan Sims playing a drunken woman is also quite amusing mostly because the scene ends with her giving a young Nicholas Parsons one heck of a slap. But then some of the humour ends up just painful and whilst Stanley Unwin who appears as a Landlord is a clever man the humour from his made up language "Unwinese" ends up more annoying than funny.
What is noticeable is that the humour in "Carry on Regardless" appears to be veering closer to the sexual innuendo which fuelled the later "Carry On" movies. For the most the humour is innocent but then you get Sid James with a tape measure taking both Joan Sims and Liz Fraser's vital statistics and the aforementioned nurses in underwear scene which definitely have a more risque nature than the earlier "Carry On" movies. To be honest the sexual innuendo is fun, more so than in the later "Carry On" movies but that is probably down to it still being just a part of a variety of gags.
As for the performances, well it's nice to see so many recognizable "Carry On" stalwarts appearing including Hattie Jacques who was ill at the time. And whilst every single one of these well known faces are just playing to type with Kenneth Williams being snobbish and Joan Sims being feisty as well as sexy it is all good fun. What is nice is that once more "Carry on Regardless" shares the screen time equally between all these stars and whilst Sid James plays the owner of the "Helping Hands" agency he doesn't end up dominating the movie. In fact Esma Cannon who plays Miss Cooling, the office assistant, steals almost every single scene thanks to her brilliant facial expressions.
What this all boils down to is that for me "Carry on Regardless" marks the departure from the early story lead "Carry On" movies into those set piece later ones. That doesn't mean it's a bad movie, in fact it is quite enjoyable especially with a touch more sexual innuendo creeping into the proceedings.
Tags: Carry On Movies