Director: Gerald Thomas
Stars: Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale, Peter Butterworth, Joan Sims, Charles Hawtrey, Dany Robin
Carry On’s take on the Scarlet Pimpernel brings us to Revolutionary France and the rule of Citizen Robespierre and his not-so-secret police, including the Big Cheese himself, Citizen Camembert and his sidekick, Citizen Bidet. When a dashing hero starts rescuing aristocrats from the very guillotine itself, Camembert spares little effort in trying to capture the self-styled “Black Fingernail”.
But when the Fingernail, known to us as English aristocrat Sir Rodney Ffing, together with his friend and helper Lord Darcy Pue, rescue the foppish royalist, the Duc de Pomfritte, from his fateful meeting with Madame La Guillotine, even tricking Camembert into beheading his own executioner into the bargain, Camembert and Bidet (together with Camembert’s sister, the would-be countess Desiree) are sent to England to unmask and capture the Fingernail. Their only leverage is that they have taken prisoner Jacqueline, a beautiful lady that Sir Rodney met and fell for whilst evading the french troops in Calais.
This, the 13th Carry On in the series, is a wonderful farce from start to finish. There are so many terrible accents, so many cringe-worthy gags, and so many completely unbelievable scenes (I especially love the duel scene in the Garden of Fragrance!). Sid James is on top form as Sir Rodney, in one of his best performances. The interplay between Kenneth Williams and Peter Butterworth as Camembert and Bidet is joyful, and the supporting cast, including Peter Gilmore, Jacqueline Pearce, Julian Orchard, Marianne Stone, Hugh Futcher and Michael Ward, are brilliant and flesh out the film into an utterly believable, utterly wonderful entry in Britain’s best known and best loved comedy franchise.