Haven Hospital is anything but thanks to the iron rule of the Matron, so the long serving patients decide to take over and run things their way.
This second Carry On film was an even bigger hit than the first, dominating the UK Box Office of 1959 and making an impact in the States too. It led to a five-year contract for producer/director team Gerald Thomas and Peter Rogers to turn out similar films – which they did at the rate of at least two a year ad naseum.
The main plot revolves around the romance of soon-to-be golden girl Shirley Eaton and Terence Longdon, but the future stars of the series were already making their presence felt. So while Kenneth Williams was only booked in a supporting role as a sneering intellectual and Hattie Jacques was sparsely used as the over-bearing matron, it was these characters that were to come to the fore in later episodes.
Interesting too to watch one of the longest lasting players Joan Sims, cast for the first time here in the “pretty girl” role and then see her 24 films down the line, when other prettier young things had taken her place, transmuted into a Jacquesite. Time was less kind to the Carry On females than the males.
The humour is less bawdy than it became – although the daffodil rectral thermometer joke probably troubled the censors (and was rumoured to have bothered Hyde-White’s agent too). The sketch-like nature of the various goings-on in the hospital meant it was consistently funny and it is with good reason that this remains one of the most fondly remembered outings for the gang.
Milder than many of the later ones but this second one really set the form.