Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Get 12 issues from just £25
A perfect night in with EE
Win £200 to spend on the perfect night in
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
U
Cast
Kenneth Williams
Barbara Windsor
Bernard Cribbins
Charles Hawtrey.
Directors
Gerald Thomas.
Screenwriters
Talbot Rothwell
Sid Colin.
Running Time
87 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Sixteen
3 Star Empire Rating
Broken Horses
3 Star Empire Rating
Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story Of Dream Alliance
3 Star Empire Rating
Jauja
4 Star Empire Rating
Exit
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
EMPIRE ESSAY: When Harry Met Sally
5 Star Empire Rating

Carry On Spying


submit to reddit


Plot
After a top secret formula is stolen by STENCH (Society for the Total Extinction of Non-Conforming Humans), not-so-top but still secret Agent Simpkins of the British intelligence and three inept trainees set about retrieving it, before it falls into the hands of the dastardly Dr. Crow.


Review

It was as sure as taxes that the Carry On team would end-up taking a few pot-shots at the Bond series, that it took such an early punch, only two years after 007’s cinematic conception, reveals a rare prescience on their behalf. This is the last of the black and white Carry Ons and still in touch with the more genial comedy of its early years, less caught up with bawdy farce than a spry pastiche sighting everything from Bond’s emerging prowess to the tinkle of the zither score from The Third Man. While never as exuberant or self-aware, Austin Powers’ wry inspection of the genre owes plenty to this frothy top-line Carry On.

The set-up with its ring of plaintive British cost-cutting, presents a British intelligence organisation having to send its least-able operative, the bumbling, ignorant Agent Simpkins (a rare lead for Kenneth Williams) and his tottering trio of spies in training (Barbara Windsor, Bernard Cribbins, and, inevitably, that ribcage on legs Charles Hawtrey) across the globe — ably produced on Pinewood soundstages — to get back the precious formula (possessed of a great punchline). Naturally, this is a process fraught with idiocy, and thus prolonged from success, until we end up in the bowels of Crow’s secret layer. It will take a double agent, secretly working for SNOG (Society for the Neutralisation of Germs), to save the day.

More sprightly and less encumbered with the need to titillate that would ring-fence the Carry Ons in later life, there is a youthfulness about Spying that still remains fresher than the colour films. The characters, assuredly potty as they are, are all likeable rather than ridiculous caricatures of British life. Again, in these formative, more elegant early days of Carry On there is none of the growing disgust that their director and writer grew for the wheedling conformity of their later characters. In that it is something to treasure.


Verdict
The last black and white Carry on this has a slightly less formulaic bawdiness than the later colour ones.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's Fast & Furious 7 Review
We run the rule on the return of Toretto, Hobbs and co

Empire Meets Alison Brie
The Get Hard star on Ken Jeong, Toto and her favourite episode of Community

17 ‘What The?’ TV Cameos From Film Directors
From Spike Jonze as a music exec to Peter Bogdanovich as… himself?

Empire Meets Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
On A Second Chance, Game Of Thrones pranks and Headhunters' poo scene

The Secrets Behind 44 Classic Cinema Sound Effects
No really, the Ringwraiths are actually plastic cups...

The 30 Greatest Superhero Movies Of All Time
Empire readers pick their top super flicks

10 Videos Every Tom Hanks Fan Should Have Watched By Now
Of course, everyone in the world is a Tom Hanks fan…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)