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Carry on Cleo

Intended as a parody of the expensive Cleopatra, this entry from the Carry On stables relies on the bludgeon rather than the rapier, so isn't entirely successful in its purpose.

Intended as a parody of the expensive Cleopatra, this entry from the Carry On stables relies on the bludgeon rather than the rapier, so isn’t entirely successful in its purpose.

Accent in this frolic is less on situation than on dialog and so there is less action to hold the audience. Talbot Rothwell’s dialog is unabashedly corny but this doesn’t much matter. But it is also unusually bristling with plodding double entendres. Gags, both verbal and visual, suffer from repetition and few are as neat as Julius Caesar’s woeful complaint, ‘Infamy! Infamy! Everybody’s got it in for me!’

The practised cast of Old Regulars are also, mainly, up to form, with Sidney James as Mark Anthony and Kenneth Connor as Hengist the Wheelmaker particularly prominent as they disport among the vestal virgins. Kenneth Williams has a few twittering moments as Caesar but again irritatingly overplays. Charles Hawtrey’s main function is to look incongruous and carry the weight of some of the least subtle sex patter.

On the femme side, Joan Sims is a hearty gal as Caesar’s wife, Sheila Hancock is a shrill one as Hengist’s spouse. Best discovery is Amanda Barrie as the poor man’s Cleopatra. Her takeoff of the Queen of the Nile gets nearer to the tongue-in-cheek sense of what filmmakers were aiming at than any of her more experienced colleagues.

Carry on Cleo

  • Production: Anglo Amalgamated. Director Gerald Thomas; Producer Peter Rogers; Screenplay Talbot Rothwell; Camera Alan Hume; Editor Archie Ludski; Music Eric Rogers;; Art Director Bert Davey
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1964. Running time: 92 MIN.
  • With: Sidney James Kenneth Williams Kenneth Connor Charles Hawtrey Joan Sims Amanda Barrie