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Carry On Henry Review

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King Henry VIII has grown tired with his new wife Queen Marie of Normandy, who refuses to have sex (and eats too much garlic anyway, but he is loathe to remove her head in case it starts a war with their neighbour. Thus he concocts a plan to force her into an affair, he can then uncover.

★★★★★

It is a widely considered rule of thumb that the Carry Ons are so much better when inhabiting a period scenario, as if somehow the old crew could convince themselves they were doing something a touch more dignified. However, a play on the habits of debauched King Henry VIII presented problems. How could a king’s avaricious designs, particularly on the buxom Bettina, daughter of the Earl of Bristol (snark!) ever be denied him (the central tenet of the whole series — Sid James trying, and failing, to get his end away) if he is the king? The answer director Gerald Thomas and screenwriter Talbot Rothwell muster is a limp series of slapstick routines in which the gnarly king occupies himself in Benny Hill-style chases.

Again confusingly, Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey, play heterosexuals, the later even making the garlic scented queen pregnant. There is much too-ing and fro-ing around the king’s devious plotting, but aside from tight fitting bodices and some well-worked art direction, and Sid James really working his end of things (!) it suffers the lack of working class charm that lies at the heart of the series.

Despite some sterling work from Sid James as the amorous king, this doesn't reach the comedy depths of other period Carry Ons.

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