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Carry on Collection (Widescreen) [7 Discs]

Kenneth Williams , Hattie Jacques , Gerald Thomas , Ralph Thomas    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 396.29
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There's a lovely irony about the way in which the Carry On films are now revered, not only in the evolutionary story of British comedy, but also as an essential ingredient of cultural history. Derided for years for their low humor and conveyor-belt production values--30 films were churned out in just 21 years between 1958 and 1978--they now embody a cozy, innocent, and less sophisticated time. At the heart of their success are two vital ingredients: a virtual repertory company of Britain's finest post-war comic talents and quick-fire, innuendo-laden scripts which somehow become high-octane fuel for side-splitting laughter.

Public institutions, great historical figures, and established entertainment genres provided the main modus operandi, offering limitless potential for the films' staple themes of lust, adultery, and chicanery. Carry On Sergeant kicked off in 1958 with mainstay Charles Hawtrey. Later the same year in Carry On Nurse and in 1959's Carry On Teacher, the basic team quickly gelled with Joan Sims and Kenneth Williams making regular appearances. Leslie Phillips's insatiable predatory comic persona also figured large in these early films. Perhaps the first major milestone, though, came with the arrival of Sid James in 1960's Carry On Constable. With his trademark raucous laugh and a face like a wizened walnut, James would be a major factor in the ongoing success of the films, in which his leering, lascivious, and amoral character would vary only in name.

In 1962, Carry On Cruising marked the team's first foray into color. The following year, the films grew more adventurous and multilayered. Within their admittedly limited parameters, they did explore relationships and were surprisingly radical in their satirizing of women's roles. Hattie Jacques, for example, is best remembered for her fearsome matrons, but in Carry On Cabby (1963) she plays a downtrodden woman who hits back at husband Sid by forming her own taxi company. Carry On Jack (also 1963) found the team taking to the high seas in a Mutiny on the Bounty-style spoof starring Bernard Cribbins, but the next two films found the team at the real peak of its powers. Carry On Spying (1964) introduced Barbara Windsor's giggly buxom blond, a character who naturally fell hand in hand with James's aging Lothario in many of the subsequent films. In Carry On Cleo the same year, Amanda Barrie's deliciously frothy Egyptian queen and Kenneth Williams's saturnine Caesar set new heights for the series. The year 1965 brought Carry On Cowboy, featuring Joan Sims as a feisty saloon girl, while Carry On Screaming (1966) drove a comic stake through the heart of classic Hammer horror flicks.

Today, the Carry On films are seen as a vital component in the linear development of modern British comedy, influencing everything from French & Saunders to the surreal League of Gentlemen. In their time, they provided a much-needed big-screen vehicle for the greatest comic talents of the age. And today that vehicle has become a legacy of wonderful performances, many of them truly subtle. On that level alone, the Carry On films earn their status as a comic institution a hundred times over. --Piers Ford


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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming! Jan. 12 2004
Format:DVD
This is one of the most spectacular classic British comedies and a must-have for any Carry On fan. It is, however, unfortunate that all the Carry On moviess have not yet been released in the US in DVD format. I certainly hope they do bring them out soon. The rest of the Carry On collection (starting from where this box set left) is available in UK.
This box set contains the first 12 Carry Ons that were made and a 13th one made as a tribute to all the Carry Ons (That's Carry On). It is needless to say that the cast and crew in them were always spectacular and outrageously hilarious. Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Connor, Jim Dale, Joan Sims all gave stellar performances in each Carry On.
It is rather sad to face the fact that most of this crew is no longer with us. There are few who come close to the facial expressions of Kenneth Williams, his famous flaring nostrils, and his manner of speech, Sid James' famous yak-yak and Charles Hawtrey's "Oh-Hello's" and silly grins, not to mention their extremely natural and hilarious acting. Most of them were talented actors from a very young age. On the bright side, it is good to know that some of them like Barbara Windsor and Jim Dale are still carrying on in the entertainment world.
For all Carry On fans wanting to know more about the lives of these actors and detailed description on each film, there is [...] and there are books on the lives of Sid James, Kenneth Williams (who was a very private and a sad man in real life) and others.
Truly, it is hard to carry on living till the rest of the Carry Ons are released in the US on DVD.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh--Hello ! July 4 2003
Format:DVD
This of course--as any self-respecting Carry On fan will tell you--is Charles Hawtrey's catch-phrase. This box set is only half the story, and hopefully there will be another box coming, with more of these British comedy gems. In the mean time, we have this set of Carry On movies from the late 50s and early 60s to enjoy over and over.
Critics hated these films--the rest of us were too busy laughing at the antics, risque jokes and awful puns to care. As the films were made, various actors came and went--but the key members of the Carry On Gang were--Sidney James ( the owner of the dirtiest laugh in the history of cinema ), Kenneth Williams, Kenneth Connor, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Barbara Windsor, Hattie Jacques and , if this were not enough, plenty of other British comedic actors to keep the laughs coming like Bernard Bresslaw, Jim Dale, Leslie Phillips, Terry Scott, Peter Butterworth, Jack Douglas, Frankie Howerd and on and on. Beautiful women like Shirley Eaton, Liz Fraser and Amanda Barrie were major "pluses" too.
Like any series of films, some were better than others, and fans do not always agree on their favourites. In this package, "Carry On Nurse" is not only a classic, but it really put the series on track because it was a huge hit in many countries. I find "Carry On Constable" to be one of the best with Kenneth Williams and Leslie Phillips both terrific--it also introduces Sid James, who would soon become "Mr.Carry On", although he is rather subdued in this first outing. Even without Sid, "Carry On Screaming" is a winner, with Harry H. Corbett fine in the lead, and Kenneth Williams quite surreal as the "Mad Doctor". "Carry On Cleo" is good fun--by this time, Sid had his "King Leer" act down to perfection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic British Comedy At Great Value! Oct. 30 2002
Format:DVD
Whenever you think of the Carry On films you immediatley think of the likes of Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims, Charles Hawtrey, Hattie Jaques, Barbara Windsor etc. This British film series is now something of a much-loved institution. Always savaged by critics for its cheap puns and almost stereotypical performances, the films can be more accuratley described as cheap and cheerful. Not exactly being Shakespeare but the series did come up with some genuinley fine blends of comedy - Up The Kyber (1968), Camping (1969) and Cleo (1964) immediatley spring to mind.
Now some of these films are over 40 years old and to celebrate their timeless appeal, The Carry On Collection comprises of the first 12 entries out of the 31 Carry On films made with the bonus of Thats Carry On. Sergeant (1958) initially set the ball rolling and is entertaining at that whilst Nurse (1959) catapulted the series into blockbuster success where it topped the U.S Box office Charts and ran in some cinemas for over two and a half years! Teacher (1959) is a gentle, old-fashioned comedy that still raises a smile whilst Constable (1959) marks a turning point in the series as its the first to feature Sid James - a much valued regular in the series. Regardless (1960) is a passable comedy but lacks direction in some ways with a series of sketches loosley tied in together with the link of the Helping Hands agency, whilst Carry On Cruising (1962) saw the series transferred into colour.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny grade B British comedies
No one will ever mistake these films for the work of Chaplin or Keaton. The humor is usually about sex, outrageous puns, broad slapstick, movie genre parodies (spies, soldiers,... Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic British Comedy
This is the first half of a series of about 25 comedy movies that were very popular in Britain. The comedies lampoon various typical British social settings. Read more
Published on March 21 2003 by it
5.0 out of 5 stars More fun than a barrel of monkeys!
This is THE perfect collection for that lazy Saturday or Sunday 'do nothing' day. It's witty, charming and the character acting is above reproach (in my humble opinion). Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Carried Away with Carry On films
I first saw "Carry On Nurse" in 1959 and fell in love with the characters. I saw that film several times and followed up with a few other "Carry On" films. Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2003 by D. Clancy
5.0 out of 5 stars Other Brit Coms are on DVD
Just a quick note to say that the entire Fawlty Towers collection is available on DVD and Keeping Up Appearances seasons are coming soon. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Carry on Classics , More please
Not that these would have won any Oscars, but they still create a chuckle. Of course, it helps if you are a "Carry On" fanatic. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2002 by Keith E. Ridley
5.0 out of 5 stars The Carry On Collection
Not bad for the Carry On series at least it is available in DVD's.
Would really like to see more Region 1 BBC Comedy's in DVD's like Mr. Read more
Published on Nov. 19 2002 by D. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential British Comedy
Here are the key films of this deeply important series, presented in pristine DVD transfers for the first time in the US. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic films!!! but that's only half of them....
I love the Carry On films, I love the whole gang of Great British actors, like Sid James, Terry Scott, Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor etc, they all fit perfectly together. Read more
Published on Sept. 26 2002 by T&D
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