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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Carry On Regardless (1961)



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Fifth in the Carry On series, Carry On Regardless is the weakest of the six installments scribed by Norman Hudis and perhaps the weakest of the first 24. There are laughs here and there, particularly from series regular Joan Sims, who does a great drunk act. But it's meandering and unfocused, and all too many of the sketches fall flat.

Perhaps one of the problems is that there is no establishment, like the military, the educational system, or the police force, that the comedy can play against. The film revolves around the Helping Hands agency, which people can employ if they need any strange or unusual jobs done. Sidney James runs the agency, of course, and the other cast members play the employees. But the agency is just an excuse to string together some comedy sketches. The lack of a narrative throughline means the film loses its momentum every time a sketch comes up short. Some work, but too many don't.

There are some nice moments on the sidelines, though. Stanley Unwin and his nonsense language are good for laughs at Sidney James' expense. The irrepressible Esma Cannon is a scream as the agency's secretary. And while the sequence is brief, it's neat to see Hattie Jacques and Joan Hickson swap their Carry On Nurse roles.

I think if you generally like the other films in the series, you will not want to miss this one. Newcomers to the series, however, should start somewhere else.

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