Carry On

Unfortunately Mark Lemon is unable to write a blog this week due to a spell in hospital, but to keep things going, here are some film reviews that Mark wrote a few months back.
I'm sure Mark will soon be well enough to continue his regular music blogzine.

Crashing back down to earth after a splendid holiday, I found myself watching late Carry On 'Carry On Behind'. My manager questioned the wisdom of reviewing such down market fair, but actually it might be interesting to look more closely at what is in this film. It is not a great Carry On, but still captures some of the bawdy low rent politically incorrect appeal of its more vulgarly illustrious forbears. Kenneth Williams thankfully was present as was Joan Simms, Bernard Bresslaw, Kenneth Connor, Ian Lavender and Windsor Davies, but Syd James was absent, so was Hattie Jacques, Charles Hawtrey and Barbara Windsor.

Windsor Davies & Jack Douglas

in a caravan park tale of attempted but frustrated infidelity, with plenty of cleavage, wall to wall smutty innuendo, dogs eating sausages, and a stripper at the park clubhouse. 1975 evidently was a time before womankind redefined itself along supposedly more emancipated lines. The young bits of skirt are this alone, mere dolly birds who could only be of interest for one reason. Of course Randy old Windsor is gagging to get his hands on them, but the heyday of Carry On films was surely passed, as an indefinable shift had taken place since the days of Carry On Camping. Aesthetically the mid 70s is here in all its gory glory, with brown and orange caravan curtains, patchwork denim flares, dodgy hats with badges on them, mustard yellow colour Austin Maxi cars (you are enjoying this as much as I am), and casual camping attire worn by Windsor Davies which was in staggeringly bad taste. Kenneth Williams closed the film with his enduring 'stop messing about' catchphrase, and so all is not lost despite the heyday of the Carry Ons being fundamentally over.

The Italian Job

Now, I know this is a long film blog but I am hoping you are still with me as I would like to talk to you now about a favourite film I've watched twice lately, called, THE ITALIAN JOB, HOORAY!!! Its 5 o'clock in the morning, a fact which will surely dispel any suspicions that I will ever get a decent, respectable job, and a regular lifestyle.
I am not a film expert, but I am a confident writer. I am certainly not an expert on The Italian Job, unlike the commentator and the films director, whose spoken soundtrack I listened to along with the film on my second recent watching. But I will offer this. I do think it is a great film, I could not conceive of it being bettered. Mod readers and more general 60s voyeurs alike will be no strangers to TIJ's appeal, I confess I had never really watched it properly until recently. It is great! Michael Caine ofcourse plays nonchalant crim Charlie. Made somewhat later than the peak of mod, the clothes are nonetheless very mod orientated, with plenty of great detail like the 4 cloth covered buttons on camp Freddie's suit. Caine wears stylish suits, the odd nice cravat, a cool polo neck with a dandified suede jacket. His dolly bird looks amazing in her leather tan mini skirt and jacket. There are great men's sunglasses, and ofcourse the cool Mini Cooper cars, and the beautiful silver Aston Martin demolished by the mafia's crane digger. Also stylish are the Italian Police's cars, Alfa Romeos. I love old cars- Alfa Romeo are the only company I see making really stylish cars now- apart from the modern Mini Coopers, ofcourse!

Quincy Jones

I love the cast, featuring such luminaries as Irene Handyl, just a terrific flawless performance by her as the plot losing, deaf elderly sister of wayward institutionalised Professor Peach, put away in a home for his own good, for doing something unspeakable with the housemaid. The Professor liked them big, BIG, and was persuaded to participate in the raid on the Italian's gold carrying vans with the promise that there were BIG Italian women waiting for him. Later scenes show him stuffing a fat woman's backside into a coach, how nice of him to help her! It is characters like Benny in this film which make it priceless. Prison Top Dog Noel Coward apparently commanded £25,000 for his part, which was apparently his last film. By this stage he had much difficulty remembering his lines, yet turned in a masterful performance as the mastermind of the criminal operation. This is the first time I have really appreciated the comedic aspects of TIJ, is this not an incredibly stylish and funny film, its humour often understated, which carries itself off impeccably? I must be falling in love with it. The soundtrack by Quincy Jones is fantastic, with Caine's vocal being the very epitome of cockney cool. The music has that great, slightly degenerated tape/analogue sound I have always loved so much. So, a bunch of British criminals pull off, almost, a raid on Italian gold, upstaging the mafia supposedly in the process, much to their indignation. It is not so much the narrative which turns me on as the way the film was done. I am falling in love with it. I bought it as part of a box set also featuring ZULU and Alfie, a film I will discuss in a later blog along with Georgie Girl, and hopefully some 50s 'b' movies. I love these, the worse they are the more I enjoy them. Wobbling sets, and the producer's wife playing a role, etc. See my future blogs for all the gory, low rent details!


PS Do see the links page for The Italian Job website

Reading Village Green Machine's ezine. Carry On
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