Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Carry On... Up The Khyber (1968)

Theatrical Poster
Source: IMP Awards
The British come under attack in India.

Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond (Sid James) is commander of the third foot and mouth division, charged with looking after the Khyber pass. His troops have becomes known as the "skirted devils" for their ability to wander around with nothing under their kilts.

The Khazi of Kalabar (Kenneth Williams) would like nothing more than to spark a full scale revolt in India to remove the British rule, but his troops a in fear of the British garrison. When his commander of the Burpa army, Bungdit Din (Bernard Bresslaw), finds a pair of woollen pants on an English soldier, the Khazi believes he has the fuel he needs to light the fire of his rebellion.

Carry On... Up The Khyber is the sixteenth film in the Carry On franchise (a pat on the back or perhaps, more appropriately, a look of pity if you can name the previous 15) and is renowned for being one of the better ones. Considering then, that 15 films - all of a similar nature - have all come before Khyber, it is refreshing that this is one of the best received Carry On films.

Sure, it had a ready-made audience on release and contains the same outlandish racism and bold, brash sexism that was prevalent in the previous films in the series (and, in 1960's Britain for that matter). Underneath all the unsubtle humour though, comes something altogether more brilliant - scripting.

Khyber's wordplay is so infectious that it will have you laughing until the cows come home (no, this time it's not bullocks.). Whether it's the ability to take a perfectly innocent scenario and turn it into utter smut, or ruin the meaning of a simple British Indian meal, writer Talbot Rothwell certainly had a knack for finding amusement in everything he saw. Veteran Carry On director Gerald Thomas proved that he wasn't done with the series just yet, bringing the script to screen in such a way that the innuendo wasn't ruined.

Unfortunately, despite all the intelligent humour Khyber will always be remembered as a better film in a franchise that became long and bloated. It's a shame, because it is certainly one of the best products of 60's Pinewood.

12 comments:

  1. This sounds hilarious, I am going to have to check it out. Thanks!

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    1. No worries. I hadn't seen it until around a month ago. I might give the others a go now too!

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  2. At last, a film I have seen :) and it is a great film. I am looking forward to tomorrow now in case I know another one!

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    1. If you're a fan of long, epic films there is a good chance you've seen tomorrrow's film. That said, I was surprised my parents had seen it and they usually can't stick films over 3 hours so you never know.

      Thanks for the comment.

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  3. I've never heard of this one. Looks interesting.

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  4. The Carry On team have stood the test of time. I still laugh at the repeat showings on TV no matter how many times I've seen them before.

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  5. Hi Edward, first time visitor and great to meet you! I've never heard of Carry on up the Khyber but thanks for introducing it to me. Looks like my kind of humor.

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    1. Hi Stephen, thanks for dropping by.

      I'm amazed by the number of people that haven't seen Carry On... Up The Khyber. I guess it is far more popular in Britain than anywhere else in the world - perhaps this is because of its humour and wordplay which might only work in the UK.

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  6. Never heard of this one, but it sounds funny. I'm hoping to visit all the blogs on the A-Z Challenge in April.

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  7. Oh yes, the Carry on series! Hilarious. They don't make em like that any more. Thanks for visiting my blog. Do you have an interest in movies from Asia?

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    1. I'm not overly bothered where a film comes from. I'm happy to watch subtitled films like there's no tomorrow and it's no exception with Asian films :)

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  8. Ah Roy Castle, the childhood memories come flooding back. One of the best Carry On movies in my opinion. Great review =)

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