Daily Archives: February 11, 2021

Carry On Doctor (1967)

*. The fifteenth Carry On movie, which puts it right in the middle of the pack (there were 31 total). Apparently they were thinking of winding things up, as the two previous films — Don’t Lose Your Head and Follow That Camel, both released the same year as this — hadn’t done well. But box office for this entry was good, and next up was Carry On . . . Up the Khyber, often regarded as the high point of the series.
*. The Carry On movies can be characterized as either exotic in time and place or domestic. This is one of the domestic features, and it’s really quite circumscribed. It might have still worked, but there’s a sense of tiredness to the proceedings. Sidney James was recovering from a heart attack and spends most of the film in bed. Frankie Howerd joins the cast in a leading role but other members of the gang are relegated to minor parts. Charles Hawtrey is Mr. Barron, a husband suffering from sympathetic pregnancy symptoms. He has no good lines or role to play. Joan Sims is Ms. Gibson, a deaf nag. Peter Butterworth is . . . someone with something wrong with him. He’s that marginal.
*. There’s little plot, even by Carry On standards, and a lot of stuff that isn’t funny at all. I was particularly mystified by what anyone could have thought was funny about Ms. Gibson being deaf and having to have everything repeated for her. Then there’s a later scene where she gets married to Howerd by a deaf priest, which is even less funny. Not because picking on deaf people is politically incorrect, but because it isn’t funny. In fact, it’s downright annoying. And I say I find this mystifying because I don’t see how anyone involved here couldn’t see that. I can only imagine Howerd and Sims looking over the script and asking “Where’s the joke?”
*. This isn’t one of the better Carry On movies, at least in my book. Though if you’re nostalgic for this style of humour, punctuated with exclamations like “Crikey!” “Cor!” and “Phwoar!”, you might get a smile out of some of it. To me it just seems lazy and tired. That the series still had so much longer to run is, in hindsight, remarkable.