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Carry On Henry (1971)



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After losing its way in the previous three episodes, the series returned to form with Carry On Henry, a historical farce about Henry VIII. This was a role Sidney James was almost destined to play, given how neatly his comic womanizer character fits Henry VIII's reputation. But the film is too ambitious to settle for the obvious jokes and devises some funny intrigues, the best of which involves a mix-up in a plan to stage a fake kidnapping.

Although not all of the material works, the dry moments are forgettable rather than painful; nowhere does the film make the mistake of exaggerating the farce beyond the point where we can relate to it, as the previous three films did. The chaos is controlled.

The cast of characters feels a little awkward sometimes, like roles were shoehorned into the story just so all of the available Carry On regulars would have something to do. As a result, the story leaves some of them stranded. But this is a very minor quibble.

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