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Carry On Cowboy (1966)



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In the mid-60s, the Carry On franchise parodied various movie genres. Carry On Cowboy is the third of these and is a very good entry in the series, thanks to all the fresh material the western genre gives it to work with. Jim Dale, my favorite Carry On lead, has his best role of the series as a plumber who is mistaken for a marshal. (Aside: Dale would make another western parody for Disney in 1978, Hot Lead and Cold Feet, but this one is better.)

Dale gets off easy, as his character is English, but the rest of the Carry On crew is stuck having to put on American accents. They are largely awful -- Sid James' cockney drawl, in particular -- but Kenneth Williams' exaggerated twang is flawless. Williams is wonderful as a cowardly judge, and guest star Angela Douglas (in her first of four guest appearances in the series) is another highlight of the show and probably has the best joke, which involves a fatal accident. Jon Pertwee, who also made appearances in four Carry Ons, steals his scenes as a spunky but quite decrepit sheriff.

Two series regulars debut here: Peter Butterworth, who plays a doctor named (what else?) Doc, and the very tall Bernard Bresslaw, who plays an Indian named Little Heap to (who else?) Charles Hawtrey's Big Heap. Butterworth and Bresslaw are not given a lot to do but would grow into full-fledged team members over the next few films.

Carry On Cowboy is a fine entry in the series, which was at the top of its game. It's also a nice change of pace for the series, as it gives most of the cast something a little different to do, while still having the madcap zaniness and gleefully goofy wordplay that made the series so popular in the first place.

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