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CARRY ON SERGEANT, 1958
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  MOVIE POSTERCARRY ON SERGEANT, 1958
Movie Reviews

Director: Gerald Thomas

Stars: William Hartnell, Bob Monkhouse, Kenneth Connor, Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey

Review by Russell Hill

SYNOPSIS:

A group of misfits complete their National Service training.

REVIEW:

The Carry On franchise has been popular for decades and it continues to entertain people of all ages. During the 1950's and 1970's, as well as Carry On Columbus in 1992, the Carry On cast appeared frequently on our screens and were a massive hit across the world. The first film was Carry on Sergeant and it laid the foundations for future hilarity.

After being enlisted for their National Service, a group of young men are finding it very difficult to adapt to military life. Charlie (Monkhouse) is a newly married man whereas Horace (Connor) is afraid of the world around him because he believes that he might get sick. Charlie, Horace and the other recruits are put through their paces by Sergeant Grimshawe (Hartnell) who has a bet with another Sergeant that they won't be a champion platoon. However, will Sergeant Grimshawe win his bet or will the new recruits fail hilariously?

I have watched the vast majority of the Carry On films and hadn't seen Carry On Sergeant for years. After watching it again recently, I was amazed at how funny it is. The later Carry On films were largely tongue-in-cheek because Talbot Rothwell was responsible for writing the scripts. However, the comedy throughout this film is mainly observational which doesn't take itself too seriously. Although you can see many jokes coming, it is the childlike humour which made me chuckle - the film might be about National Service which is no longer enforced on young men in the UK anymore but the type of humour which is used is everlasting and will never get old.

Many people who would become Carry On regulars are in the film. Kenneth Williams, Terry Scott, Kenneth Connor and Charles Hawtrey as well as Hattie Jacques all appear in the film and they make me laugh every time. The Carry On films were notorious for their low budget qualities - Carry On Abroad was set in Spain but was filmed in the UK whereas Carry On…Up the Khyber was based on the British Raj but was filmed largely in Wales. Carry On Sergeant was the opposite because, although it was filmed in the UK, the action took place on a British army base. What the Carry On films showed that, as long as the scripts were funny and made audiences laugh out loud, who cared that it was filmed in a completely different place?

A complete joy which was a huge box-office success, Carry On Sergeant is and remains a British classic. Although it is not high-brow cinema, it is very funny. And who can argue with that?

ACTORGerald Thomas
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ACTORWilliam Hartnell
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ACTORShirley Eaton
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ACTOREric Barker
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ACTORDora Bryan
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ACTORKenneth Connor
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ACTORTerence Longdon
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ACTORNorman Rossington
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CARRY ON SERGEANT, 1958