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Carry On Christmas (1969)



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Concurrent with the Carry On film series, the gang made four Christmas specials for British television, starting with this one in 1969. This is the best of the four, and the only one that completely works. Loosely, it tells the story of A Christmas Carol, with Sid James (who else?) as Scrooge. But the film doesn't worry about the story too much except as a device to hang quips and sketches onto.

The gang is in good form here, particularly Charles Hawtrey, whose energy is boundless. Hawtrey was never one of my favorite Carry On regulars, but he feels more at ease, more in his element here in the freer environment of television. The most memorable scene, though, belongs to Frankie Howerd, a guest star, not a regular, of the Carry On establishment. He has a hilarious monologue near the middle, most of which appears to have been ad-libbed. Amazing, that his comedic style comes off as so anarchic even next to the Carry On regulars.

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