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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Don't Lose Your Head (1966)

(aka: Carry On - Don't Lose Your Head)



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When the Rank Organisation took over the Carry On series, they inexplicably dumped the name; hence the title Don't Lose Your Head. The Carry On prefix was readopted two films later.

This time, the film is both a movie parody and a historical farce, as it's set during the French Revolution and stars Sid James and Jim Dale as thinly-veiled substitutes for the Scarlet Pimpernel. They work well together. Surprisingly, for all the Carry On films James and Dale did together, this was the only time they'd been paired up as a team. On the other hand, one of the reasons the series stayed fresh for as long as it did was because they were always mixing up the way the actors played off each other. A second pairing in the film also works well, namely Kenneth Williams and Peter Butterworth, the latter of whom finally has a role that scratches the service of his comedic talent.

Not all the jokes work: there's a sequence early on where two characters take turns addressing the camera directly. It's conspicuously unfunny, but the film makes up for it later with some truly inspired jokes later on. The best joke is a line by Charles Hawtrey, delivered when he's about to be beheaded by the guillotine. The climax of the film -- which is obviously a big sword fight with draperies and chandeliers as props -- is a riot.

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