Friday, 1 February 2013

Carry On Creepy

I have an aversion to farce. I don’t like people running around and hiding in cupboards; I don’t like mugging and pulling faces; I don’t like plots that hang on things that make no sense and could be immediately resolved if everyone just stopped running around, hiding in cupboards, mugging and pulling faces and just calmed the fuck down for a nano-second. That said, I like ‘What A Carve Up!’ and that’s pretty much what happens all the way through it.
The idea is extremely straightforward, really, a disparate band of British character actors gather at a creepy old mansion for the reading of a will and, while there, they start getting knocked off one by one. It’s fairly predictable, and the stars are Carry On stalwarts Sid James and Kenneth Connor, which makes for a distinctly down to earth affair, although they are ably supported by horror genii Donald Pleasence and Michael Gough and by the rather tasty Shirley Eaton.
Kenneth Connor fascinates me. His hair is ridiculously curly but also very delicate: it’s like a gossamer afro, an aurora of frizz. He's such an unlikely lead, comedy or not, and he could only really have been a film star in England, maybe Italy. I always liked it in ‘Carry On’ films when he’d sing: the big, warm, expressive voice coming out of his little, frigid, awkward body.

Sid James is a crumpled legend, and it’s interesting that here he plays Connor’s friend and ‘legal advisor’ as a close companion to the Sidney Balmoral James character who spent his life advising (and ripping off) Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock (Hancock had just sacked James as he was concerned that they had become a double act). His character is called 'Sid', of course: it's difficult to think of him as anything else, really, although I did once see him in a film playing an Italian, but can't remember any other details.    
Okay-ish, not bad, easy to watch (just as well given the amount of times it’s been shown on telly), I sort of like it, certainly don’t dislike it. I wouldn’t write a book about it, though, no matter how post modern I was feeling.   

1 comment:

  1. Is this the one where, upon seeing a wall-mounted stag's head, Sid deliver's the unforgettable line: "He must've been going some when he hit that wall." ?

    If so, I concur wholeheartedly.