Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Overlooked Movies: Carry On Nurse

Does anyone else remember the "Carry On" movies?  I don't know how many of them there were, but this was the first one I ever saw.  It was showing at the Texas Theater, the "art" theater across Guadalupe street from the campus of The University of Texas at Austin my freshman year.  Being from a small town in Central Texas, I hadn't seen many British movies.  I thought this one was hilarious, and I feel in love with Shirley Eaton, who later showed up in two other movies I like, Goldfinger (her most memorable role, probably, thanks to some gold paint) and The Girl Hunters, in which she played opposite Mickey Spillane.

The setting of the movie is a hospital, as you might have surmised, and it's mostly set in one ward of the hospital.  We learn the stories and problems of the various patients, one of whom is a newspaper reporter who agrees to write an article about his experiences and who falls (as who wouldn't) for Shirley Eaton.  There's a Matron (sort of Nurse Ratched lite) who causes problems for everyone.  

I remember two main things about the movie, the big scene where the men on the ward get drunk and decide to remove a bunion from one of the patients when his doctor fails to do so, and the final scene of the movie, which was unforgettable mainly because I'd never seen anything like it in an American movie.  I can still see it, plain as day.  I don't know how the movie would hold up today, but I suspect I'd still get a kick out of it.  It's slapsticky, but, after all, I still laugh at The Good Humor Man.

15 comments:

Todd Mason said...

Hm. Well, the darnedest things get on the "art" circuit when they're imported...I'd vaguely wondered if the CARRY ON series had gotten any cinema exposure in the US, and I'm guessing, from your citation, not so much...the WIKIPEDIA entry is pretty clear--31 "official" CARRY ON films, a tv series, a stage review, and a number of associational films and such...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carry_On_(franchise)

Todd Mason said...

Or three stage reviews. I suspect I'll need to see CARRY ON SCREAMING eventually, as a not quite completist horror-movie guy.

Bill Crider said...

31? Wow. I've seen about 1/10th of them.

Deb said...

The comedy was, to put it mildly, on the smutty side, but these were fixtures of my English childhood. I remember a documentary a few years ago about the, ahem, cultural impact of those movies and about the complicated romantic lives of many of the actors who were regulars in the series (Sid James apparently stalked frequent co-star Barbara Windsor for tears). Carry On At Your Convenience (about the unionization of a factory) and Carry In Cleo (the gang on the Nile) are the two I remember best. I think Netflix has a few for instant download.

Deb said...

For years, but there were probably tears on Barbara Windsor's part too.

Bill Crider said...

I may have to check on Netflix and see how they hold up.

Max Allan Collins said...

I love the CARRY ON films. They're pretty much all available on DVD in the USA from VCI (doesn't that flow nice?).

The great Frankie Howerd is in two of the better ones, or maybe I should say "better" ones, because they are definitely not for every taste: CARRY ON UP THE JUNGLE and (I think) CARRY ON DOCTOR. CARRY ON UP THE KHYBER is considered the best by many buffs. CARRY ON CLEO was shot on the Liz/Dick sets with costumes from the production, too -- I believe Sid James wore Burton's togs. CARRY ON SCREAMING is out on Blu-ray in the UK -- funny Hammer Horror spoof but no Sid James. When I took my Spillane documentary to the National Film Theater in London, the BFI was presenting a big CARRY ON exhibit! Gore blimey! (The latter the name of a Sid James/CARRY ON docudrama...)

Bill Crider said...

Obviously this series isn't as overlooked as I thought!

Deb said...

Frankie Howerd was also the star of the similar-themed TV series, Up Pompeii. It used to be aired on our local PBS affiliate some years ago, but the shows were produced in the 1960s and 1970s.

Mike Doran said...

Sometime around 1970 or so, a local chain theater here in Chicago booked Carry On Doctor, possibly by mistake.
I saw it at a Saturday matinee - my first exposure to Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Charles Hawtrey, Hattie Jacques, Bernard Bresslaw - and (Hi Max) Frankie Howerd!
At about the same time, a local TV station began showing various of the Carry Ons late on Saturday nights; my brother and I "got them", as probably most of our contemporaries likely wouldn't have (and not just because of the Brit slang).

The new availability on DVD from VCI is yet another blessing of our modern age.

I guess this would be an "association item":
The music for the earliest Carry Ons was composed by Robert Bruce Montgomery - better known in these precincts as Edmund Crispin (creator of Gervase Fen).
Look it up!

Bill Crider said...

That qualifies as the best trivia of the day.

Richard said...

Why did I think of Terry Thomas when I saw the header on this post, and where is the trailer promised by Todd?

Bill Crider said...

Scroll down for the trailer.

Todd Mason said...

And you have to hit the word "[trailer]" in my list, since the trailers are always in a separate post on Bill's blog. Almost if not uniquely.

Cap'n Bob said...

They were on the late, late show sometimes in New York in the sixties and I saw a number of them then. I remember almost nothing about them, but I do remember liking them at the time.