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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Carry On Up the Jungle (1970)



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As the Carry On series moved into the 70s, more and more characters would be given over to caricatures, and the comedy would arise more and more from abstract absurdity, rather than frustrations we can relate to. Can we really relate to Terry Scott's awful Tarzan-like character here?

The beginning of the film mostly works. A jungle expedition is arranged, and several humorous mishaps occur as it gets underway. Joan Sims is particularly good here, and Jacki Piper is both funny and charming in her first of four wonderful guest starring appearances.

But then the film flies off the rails with some painfully unfunny nonsense about an all-female tribe of natives and the predictably salacious tortures they devise for the men they capture. It all has the look of humor, but not the heart of it.

It's a minor point, but I must say that the movie's theme music is wonderfully chaotic. Eric Rogers composed most of the music for the series, including this one, and did a wonderful job creating fast, fun, energetic scores. This one probably isn't his best but is certainly his most outrageous.

This film also marks Kenneth Connor's return to the series, after an eight film absence. In the early films, Connor was one of the strongest players, routinely stealing scenes. His typical character arc was the timid neurotic who overcame his issues in the end and took charge. In the later films, the quirks and foibles are all there, but the arc isn't. He simply behaves in an allegedly funny way. It's probably not Connor's fault so much as the underwritten scripts, but the charm and the humanity was gone. When I watched the Carry On films in order, I missed him when he disappeared from the series and missed him more after he came back.

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