Happy 59th Anniversary to the Carry Ons

Mel O'Drama

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Even to this day, I think the Carry Ons were unfairly looked down upon by many in the film industry, somehow considering them as low-brow entertainment.

At the end of the day they pulled in the audiences to the cinemas and when you look at the calibre of so many of the actors, this perception is deeply unfair and does the Carry Ons a great disservice.

They were looked down on in their day, but I think time has been very good to them.

The Carry Ons were thought of fondly by the public and that's only deepened with time and nostalgia. I think critics and others in the film industry have come to appreciate this and value them on that level as having made a significant contribution to British film history. At the very least they can view them with tongue-in-cheek affection.
 

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With the benefit of hindsight, the series should have ended with Carry On Dick or at the very latest Behind. Carry On England - the newcomers simply didn't have the same presence as the old hands, and the less said about the Columbus the better.

Swami
 

Mel O'Drama

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With a couple of longer journeys in the last week or so I've finally got round to listening to this. Even at eighty nine years of age Fenella's trademark voice is a joy to listen to.

Fenella's naivety around sex was kind of a recurring theme. Part of me wonders if the double entendres about blowing Sgt. Bung's whistle really went over her head or if it's been spun as part of her eccentric persona. I like to think it's true, just because if so it's rather charming. Along similar lines, her tale of a childhood encounter with The Clapton Flasher is horrific on the face of it and yet delivered with warmth, humour and frankness by Fenella as just another amusing anecdote. This juxtaposition sums up Fenella's outlook and the entire tone of the book. If you don't get her at this point (just four minutes into the audiobook), you may as well not listen on.

Fenella had a severe stroke at the weekend and it's looking likely that she's made her last stage appearance. It's incredibly impressive that she's been working up to this point with regular readings from her memoirs. I'm rather sorry I never got to attend one of them.

It seems she's currently in good spirits, so that's something.
 

Barbara Fan

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http://www.soapchat.net/threads/liz-fraser-carry-on-actress-dies-at-88.5668/

Actress Liz Fraser, best known for her roles in the Carry On films, has died at the age of 88.

Fraser died on Thursday at London's Brompton hospital as a result of complications following an operation, her agent told BBC News.

Fraser often played one of the Carry On franchise's stereotypical "busty blonde" characters.

Director Michael Armstrong paid tribute, describing her as "one of the greatest comedic actresses of her era".
 

Angela Channing

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Actress Liz Fraser, best known for her roles in the Carry On films, has died at the age of 88.

I just looked at her filmography on IMDB and she appeared in an episode of Midsummer Murders this year so she appears to have been working right up to the end.
 

J. R.'s Piece

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I met Fenella Fielding several times. Most recently in 2016. I last met Liz Fraser less than three months ago.

I was watching Fenella in ITC’s The Four Just Men recently with Vittorio De Sica, George Pastell, Sir Alan Bates, Dame Judi Dench, Steven Berkoff and Richard Conte. I’ve seen several of Liz Fraser’s films recently on Talking Pictures.
 

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Nice feature in today's Sunday Express - in the context of the recent passing of both Liz Fraser and Fenella Fielding - briefly highlighting what remaining Carry On members are doing at present.

Swami
 

Barbara Fan

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I was shopping today and in WH Smiths and passed some magazines and on the cover was Anita Harris
She looks fab for her age and still neat and trim and not botoxed to the hilt like many of her contemporaries
 

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I was shopping today and in WH Smiths and passed some magazines and on the cover was Anita Harris
She looks fab for her age and still neat and trim and not botoxed to the hilt like many of her contemporaries

Absolutely, Jim Dale and Anita Harris were a great pairing in Carry On Doctor.

Swami
 

Mel O'Drama

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Today's news of Barbara Windsor's death led me to this article from last year:

Carry On films weren’t all bad; they celebrated the working class in its heyday



The series peaked commercially in the 1960s with Carry On Cleo, Carry On Doctor and Carry On Up the Khyber. It’s no coincidence that these titles arrived at a time of low unemployment and improved living standards, and when Harold Wilson, a former grammar school boy from Yorkshire, was prime minister. Carry On films were by no means radical social documents, but they nonetheless reflected the collapse of the age of deference and the strides made towards social equality.


...Look at the casting, too, and you see a film industry opening its doors to those who might previously have been consigned to below-stairs roles, or overlooked entirely. The franchise made stars of Kenneth Williams (son of a barber), Barbara Windsor (daughter of a fruit and veg seller), Sid James (a Jewish hairdresser) and Joan Sims (daughter of an Essex stationmaster). It’s hard not to compare this to today’s actors, increasingly the product of expensive educations and cushioned by family money.

I must confess the last part is news to me. Do more actors come from monied families with public school backgrounds?

It's interesting to see the series through somewhat more objective eyes. I've possibly never been far enough away from the films to have that perspective and so haven't felt any kind of guilt over my enjoyment. Or perhaps I feel it goes without saying that I understand the context.
 

James from London

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Do more actors come from monied families with public school backgrounds?
Now that you can no longer get a grant to go to drama school (not that it was ever easy back in the day), sadly, it means that, yes, coming from a wealthy background is a huge advantage.

Carry On Cabby , for one, is a very pro-women film.
 

Mel O'Drama

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Now that you can no longer get a grant to go to drama school (not that it was ever easy back in the day), sadly, it means that, yes, coming from a wealthy background is a huge advantage.

Thanks for that perspective. It's a shame to hear that the industry is becoming less accessible in recent times though. The optimist in me would have hoped it would be the other way round.




Carry On Cabby , for one, is a very pro-women film.

Absolutely.

And women are the cleverest, coolest-headed or most resourceful characters in a number of the films, whether it's WPC Passworthy, Annie Oakley or Valeria Watt.
 

Mel O'Drama

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And now Rosalind Knight has died.

I thought she was fantastic in both her Carry Ons. Student Nurse Nightingale and the intimidatingly regal Miss Wheeler couldn't be more different, so I suspect she was a terrific character actor. It would have been nice if she'd done a few more, but I love what we got.

 

James from London

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Mel O'Drama

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Knowing your interest in British comedy films, Carry Ons and otherwise, @Mel O'Drama, I thought you might be interested in the first episode of the new series of Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema which dissects this very genre

Oh - how right you were James. Thanks for thinking of me.

I'm watching it now and my list of films I want to watch is already growing. Theatre Of Blood seems to be free on Prime, so that's good news.

It's often been noted that the defining factor of most British sex comedies is that they're neither sexy nor funny.

So true.
 
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