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Carry On Jack Review

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The sea-faring adventures of Albert Poopdecker, a newly commissioned Midshipman (he took 8 1/2 years to qualify) who joins HMS Venus and experiences a mutiny, pirates, mistaken identities and shipwrecks.

★★★★★

Carry On Jack represented the first for the series on a number of levels; it was the first to officially feature screenwriter Talbot Rothwell who became the gatekeeper of the series’ unique tone, And it was the first to feature a historical setting, something that paid dividends for the team for, despite the distinct lack of budget, it not only provided tons of mileage for punning and farce, it also set their worldview at one remove, creating a universe that exists by its own laws and logic, therefore making any form of ludicrousness acceptable

      Originally titled Carry On Up The Armada — until the British Board Of Film Censors insisted on a title change, then Carry On Sailor (this was rejected to avoid confusion with Carry On Cruising — Jack has fun at the expense of C.S. Forrester’s Hornblower yarns, as Poop-Decker has his uniform stolen inside a house of ill repute then is picked up by a pressgang and taken to the ship that he was due to serve on. The lack of the major Carry on players (no Sid, no Babs) is a problem but Juliet Mills’ Sally attacks her temptress turned heroine with maximum spirit and Bernard Cribbins is a likeable presence in the Jim Dale role. Dale, himself, features in a brief cameo and snags one of the film’s best lines; when Poop-Decker suggests that his job pulling a sedan chair “must be awful”, Dale simply replies. “It’s better than walking the streets.”

Not one of the classics. But this early effort shows the formula in embryo.