British horror has Hammer and British comedy has “Carry On.” “Carry On” was the name for a series of British films, produced between 1958 and 1978, featuring saucy humor, kinky characters and plenty of slapstick. I guess you can say that each “Carry On” film was kinda like a feature length Benny Hill skit, not to sell these films short or anything. So infectious were these films that they’re legends of British television, spawning hordes of devotees and a stage play in 2000 called “Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle & Dick.” Terry Johnson, the play’s director decided to turn the production into a made for television film and so “Cor, Blimey” was born.
This British television feature is an engrossing portrayal of life behind the scenes on the “Carry On” set, but even more so, it’s a look at the love affair between two of “Carry On”‘s dearest actors – Sid James and Barbara Windsor. Apparently, Sid James was quite the lecherous old man, chasing young starlets around the set non-stop. But when he lays eyes on the bubbly and bodacious Barbara Windsor, old Sid finds himself falling head over heels for the actress, despite his being married with children.
More charming than knee-slapping funny, “Cor Blimey” starts off as a cute little cat and mouse game between Sid and Barbara, but once the affair is sealed, the film turns into quite a touching love story. Some may even find themselves tearing up at the end, but let me say this right now – I DID NOT CRY! OKAY? Sniff.
I’ll admit that “Cor, Blimey” has been my introduction to the world of “Carry On.” I had never even heard of these films before. But I can imagine that “Carry On” fans will be delighted to see their favorite stars being lovingly portrayed in this behind the scenes journey of Pinewood Studios. Geoffrey Hutchings turns out a touching performance as the horn dog turned lovesick fool, Sid James. Adam Godley is also fantastic as the snooty and flatulent Kenneth Williams. Turned off at first by his heavy-handed snootiness, I quickly came to love it and now it’s the character that I aspire to become some day. But the jewel in this crown is Samantha Spiro as the vivacious Barbara Windsor. I fell in love and so will you…unless you’re dead. Her portrayal of Barbara Windsor is dead on accurate. This is proven when the real Barbara Windsor actually steps into her own shoes mid-scene to play herself for a couple of minutes. The switch is nearly seamless, the only difference being that the real Barbara looks a little older. Terrific performance!
I think that even if “Carry On” fans find that the portrayal of these wild actors aren’t completely to their expectation, they should at least recognize a good movie when they see it. On the other hand, for those of you who don’t know what the hell a “Carry On” film is, don’t shy away from this movie because of its unfamiliar subject matter. I didn’t know anything about this troupe either, but now that I do, I feel that a whole new wonderful world has opened up to me.
Film rating 4 stars ^ DVD rating 2 stars