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Film Title

Carry On Cruising


Gerald Thomas


  • Sid James as Captain Crowther
  • Kenneth Williams as First Officer Leonard Majoribanks
  • Kenneth Connor as Doctor Arthur Binn
  • Lance Percival as Wilfred Haines
  • Liz Fraser as Glad Trimble
  • Dilys Laye as Flo Castle
  • Esma Cannon as Bridget Madderley
  • Jimmy Thompson as Sam Turner

The sixth movie in the long running comedy series, Carry On Cruising is the first on colour too. And it adds to the summery, breezy charms of this venture as a cruise ship is beset by calamities and romantic chases in typically amusing fashion.

On the cruise ship ‘The S.S. Happy Wanderer’ seasoned Captain Crowther is hoping for a smooth sea journey before he takes a prestigious job on another liner. His wish for seeming stability is thwarted when he sees that a number of his usual, loyal crew have been replaced either through illness or other things. What he gets is gossip First Officer Leonard, timid Doctor Arthur Binn, dopey, seasick chef Wilfred Haines and Barman Sam Turner , who can’t mix the Captain’s favourite cocktail. Everyone is dying to impress the Captain, in the hopes that they get to become staff on his other vocation. Trouble is as hard as they try, trouble seems to follow them everywhere they go. And the passengers on the cruise are also a spirited and eventful bunch too. Blonde beauties Glad and Flo are friends and sometimes rivals when it comes to being on the lookout for a man, though Glad can’t see that Doctor Binn is clearly infatuated with her. And Bridget Madderley is a sprightly, amazingly spirited old woman who can show the young ones just how to have some outrageous fun. With the crew and passengers all at sea quite literally and zany catastrophes afoot, it’s a high time at sea for Captain Crowther and his new crew.

After the less than stellar Carry On Regardless, Gerald Thomas finds himself on summery, jolly form with a delightful outcome for us the audience. I adore how the humour is both from the dialogue and of the physical variety; an array of great faces and movements are once again the real crux of the humour here. And add in the colour for good measure, and it all feels so frightfully romantic. There’s still room for innuendo and double entendres, but they are buttressed by the sweetly innocently amorous adventures of the ship that stay on the right side of cheeky. Importantly, Carry On Cruising would be the last of the series to feature a script by Norman Hudis, who had previously scribed every entry to this point. His nudge wink humour and feeling of group camaraderie in hilarious circumstances can not be underestimated in the history of the film’s and he goes out in fine style. The antics and comedic acts that go on in Cruising have laughs written all over them for your enjoyment. From an a,using ping-pong game to clueless whipping up a frankly revolting cake that he somehow thinks is world-class, there’s no shortage of hilarity to be had with Carry On Cruising. When you go into a Carry On, it’s the laughs you want. Yes there is a story, but it’s the efforts of the cast that you most treasure and the familiarity of it all makes it cosy. You can accuse the Carry On movies of repeating the same formula, but the fact that you know what you’ll get actually causes them to be very satisfying as a result. Not every joke hots the mark, but the antics and farce are in high supply and move Cruising on at a quick and pleasing pace. One notable absence in Cruising is that of Charles Hawtrey, who had a disagreement with production after wanting top billing. He is missed in this film, as are Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques. Yet despite their absences, Cruising doesn’t fall apart and continues on in greatly comic tradition with the rest of the regulars. A tropical and tongue in cheek score provides just the ticket for this entry.

Sid James heads proceedings in a somewhat serious role, that still gets humour under the belt. As the beleaguered, grizzled captain who is beset by problems, James clearly has fun playing the long frustrated man wanting to sign off in style, but seeing it is far from steady water ahead. The hilarious Kenneth Williams is here as agony aunt, who has a tendency to meddle and on more than one occasion, use his loquacious ways to endear himself and others to the Captain. With his usual array of catty one liners and hysterical facial expressions, its happy sailing for Williams. Also in great spirits and good form is Kenneth Connor, bringing out the shyness and permanently unlucky in love aspects of his part in the way he always does. Both Kenneth’s have some dazzling scenes together, obviously bouncing off the other with ease. Getting a lot of the laughs is Lance Percival; him of the dumbfounded yet childlike expression. He is a hoot as the chef on the cruise, at times completely oblivious to his shortcomings and causing a near riot in the process. Dilys Laye and Liz Fraser are on hand for the loveliness and flirtatious banter and looking ravishing while doing it too. Liz Fraser stands out the most out of the two women, being both cheeky and warm. And one can’t forget the immensely humorous showing from Esma Cannon, who gets up to all manner of mischief during her time at sea in an impish way. Given the least to do is Jimmy Thompson as the wet behind the ears barman, though he has his fair share of moments.

A generally sweet and somewhat more romantic Carry On, Cruising ticks the required boxes and joyously delivers the comedy goods with an abundance of energy.