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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Carry On Cruising (1962)



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What's nice about the humor of the Carry On films is that their stories aren't twisted into sitcom-like misunderstandings. When a woman tells a man that her friend is in love with somebody and, by her awkward wording, the man thinks it's him she's in love with, the misunderstanding isn't prolonged so much that it defines the course of the rest of the movie (as I dreaded, groaning, as the scene unfolded). Instead, the misunderstanding has its humorous payoff right then, the misunderstanding is cleared up, and then it's on to the next comic mishap. It doesn't try to manufacture drama just so it has something to hang the comedy onto. While it happily invites contrivances to make way for a few jokes -- and there are so many, it scarcely matters if not all of them work -- it refuses to hinge whole plots on them.

Of course, the plots are still just excuses for a parade of skits. The delightful Sid James (his trademark cackle never better than here) plays the Captain of a cruise ship, and the rest of the Carry On gang play new members of his crew who have a knack for wreaking havoc -- or simply having it wrought upon them.

Carry On Cruising was the first episode of the series to be filmed in color. More significantly, it was the last to be written by Normal Hudis. His successor Talbot Rothwell, would abandon Hudis' theme of rookies on the job, instead developing the series into historical farces. The Rothwell films are better known, but there is something to be said for the sly wit and (slightly) more innocent charms of the Hudis films.

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