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Films: C is for...

Carry On Spying

The Carry On Federation, or whatever they call themselves this week, rate this as one of the better of the black-and-whiters, though we can’t say we’ve ever really been overly enamoured with its zany stylings, what with the introduction of Babs and the beginning of Ken’s transition from supercilious know-all to flappy-armed sinus on legs (not a bad thing in itself, but this middle phase is slightly unsatisfactory for reasons we can’t quite place). And, as with Carry On Jack, there’s that upsetting spectacle of Bernard Cribbins not being terribly funny to deal with, belly dance scene or no belly dance scene. We can hear the offstage hooting already, but we’ve *tried* to like this more, and failed, and we’re as disappointed in ourselves as you must be. Still, it’s worth the outing nonetheless, as a lower tier black-and-whiter is worth a million …Englands any day. We’re pretty sure the film’s oft-toted claim to be ‘the first Bond spoof’ may not be entirely true, as it reckons without the literally hundreds of Italian and Spanish spoofs-cum-knockoffs that poured into continental kinos within weeks of Ursula Andress doing an impression of Diana Coupland in her pants. There’s probably a ‘James Tont’ or ‘Goldminger’ or ‘Superseven OSS 000113S9 Agente Sexykill!’ adventure that predates this admittedly quick off the mark pastiche by a couple of months, no matter how shite it is. But …Spying did predate your Matt Helms and your Derek Flints by a year or two, so fair enough, though we maintain those slick affairs are better suited to Bond spoofery than the Carry Ons, where the joke tends to become all about the shabbiness of the whole operation (the fact Cleo and Screaming had nice sets and lighting and stuff made them ten times more, not less, funny). Anyhow, this is all strictly academic busywork, as the best spy spoof is and always will be The Incredible Paris Incident.



  1. Sidney Balmoral James

    August 5, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    Does include the moment when exiting a toilet cubicle Kenneth Williams says to Jim Dale: ‘I should give it a minute’.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    August 7, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    Last of the series to be made in black and white and probably one of the last mainstream British films to be filmed in black and white, as the switch to colour was completed by the mid sixties.

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