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Blimey, they've done it again!
Bawdy, buffoonish, and British as Bobbies on bicycles, another pair of The Rank Collection's Carry On comedies have made it across the pond, offering colonists a double-dose of royal rib-tickling, pre-Monty (Python) vintage.
"Dearest, if you can't express yourself in more elegant terms, kindly shut your cakehole."—Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond
Carry On Up The Khyber, "or The British Position in India," is set in 1895 at the Khyber Pass, gateway to India and a military stronghold of Queen Victoria's Empire. Its security has been entrusted to a Highland guard regiment, the Third Foot & Mouth, better known to fearful locals and would-be transgressors as the invincible "Devils in Skirts." All this changes when conniving Burpa tribesman Bungdit Din (Bernard Bresslaw) comes upon spindly shivering Private Widdle (Charles Hawtrey) and gets a look up the guard's kilt. Much to Din's surprise, he discovers a pair of white, woolen underpants!
Well, it gets mighty frosty up there in the mountains of the Northern Region, doesn't it? However, from this seemingly innocuous discovery, "the spark was soon to be lit that would set Kalabar ablaze."
"Think how frightening it would be to have such a man charging at you with his skirts flying in the air and flashing his great big bayonet at you," says Randy Lal (Kenneth Williams), the Khasi of Kalabar, counseling his beautiful daughter Princess Jelhi (Angela Douglas). On the other hand, who could be frightened of men that hide such ridiculous frillies beneath their hemlines?
Lal, "only the richest and most powerful rajah in northern India," figures the time is right to mount a rebel uprising of local tribes, to drive out the British occupiers once and for all. Not that they will go without a fight, least of all Her Majesty's Governor of the Northwest Frontier Province, Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond (Sidney James), fond as he is of his luxurious digs and extremely cushy appointment. Let the battles commence!
Much more contemporary skirmishes form the crux of our second feature, Carry On Doctor.
"As in all hospitals, there is high drama beneath the placid surface. As in all humans, a thousand passions and loves surge and tremble beneath the bed gowns, the white jackets, and the starched bosoms."—An omniscient narrator
Borough County Hospital reflects the state of merry, modern England, circa 1967. Subsidized by the National Health Service, the large medical facility is brimming with staff and patients alike, looking to sponge off the system. Work-shy patients like Charlie Roper (Sidney James) contrive to remain in the medicinal bed and breakfast by inventing maladies, whilst officious administrators like sadistic chief of staff Dr. Kenneth Tinkle (Kenneth Williams) and his henchwoman head nurse, Matron (Hattie Jacques), scheme to keep the wards in a state of quick and constant turnaround.
How does one treat an expectant father suffering from a hysterical pregnancy of his own? Will that handsome, earnest young Dr. Kilmore (Jim Dale) and that sweet, adorable young Nurse Clarke (Anita Harris) ever realize they were meant for one another? Will anyone be able to keep temperatures from rising to dangerous levels as long as blonde, beautiful and extremely buxom Nurse Sandra May (Barbara Windsor) continues her rounds? These questions and more are raised, answered, and assaulted by the rapier wit of the "Carry On" repertory company, which was truly on a creative hot streak at this point. Saucy, sexy, and irreverent to a (high) tee, this "Bedpanorama of Hospital life" is the fifteenth of the venerated series, and my favorite—so far, anyways.
VCI Home Entertainment has once again delivered the goods. Of the two films, Carry On Up The Khyber is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, while Carry On Doctor is modified from its 1.66:1 theatrical and matted as 1.75:1. The colors betray very little, if any degradation, and gritty images are kept to a bare minimum. Both come with Dolby 2.0 Mono audio tracks and "Optional Enhanced" audio, though I've been unable to make much of a distinction. English subtitles available for the hard-of-hearing provide. Bonus features are limited to a photo gallery and a promotional commercial advertising VCI's two "Double Feature" releases. Meh.
Reasonably priced, this two-fer is must-see DVD, if you're tweaking for giggles.
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Scales of Justice, Carry On Doctor
Perp Profile, Carry On Doctor
Studio: VCI Home Video
Distinguishing Marks, Carry On Doctor
Scales of Justice, Carry On Up The Khyber
Perp Profile, Carry On Up The Khyber
Studio: VCI Home Video
Distinguishing Marks, Carry On Up The Khyber
• Photo Gallery
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