CARRY ON MATRON

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Carry On Matron Cover Now what would you do for money? Would you dress in drag? Would you use the phrase 'Oh! My Giddy Aunt'? Or what about breaking into a hospital dressed as a nurse? Sure. It is possible. Just have a look at this film Directed by Gerald Thomas; and Starring: Sidney James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Barbara Windsor, plus Hattie Jacques. It was made in 1972 and lasted for 87-minutes. 


Carry On Matron


THE STORY:
Now there's many different stories wandering around the wards of 'Finisham' maternity hospital this week. Like Matron's (Hattie Jacques) fun and games with neurotic head-administrator, Sir Bernard Cutting (Kenneth Williams), for example. Or what about what Doctor Goode and Doctor Prod (Charles Hawtrey and Terry Scott) both get up to on and off duty. However, these are nothing more than tall tales within the scheme of things. It's what Sidney Carter (Sid James) tries to do that's the main thrust of this yarn.

OK, so technically speaking, Sidney isn't a patient or a member of staff residing at this place of care. Oh no. He's a crook -- a crook that coaxes a member of his own gang to dress up as a nurse, and then penetrate this medical facility, with the intent of stealing some contraceptive pills there.

No. Don't fret. It isn't Ernie (Bernard Bresslaw). He looks too wardrobe-like to be a female nurse. And no. It isn't Freddy (Bill Maynard) either. Mores the pity. It's Sid's son, Cyril (Kenneth Cope), instead.

Yeah. Straight up. Cyril is the poor deluded fool that decks himself up in 'nurse-wear' -- boobs and all -- and sneaks into 'Finisham', trying his best not to draw too much attention to what his father wants him to do.

Still, how was Cyril supposed to know that he'd get sent to the nurse's chambers straight away, and be befriended by a buxom nurse called Susan Ball (Barbara Windsor)? Moreover, how was he supposed to know that he'd have to be touched up by Doctor Prod as well, just to get his hands on a map for this facility?

Well, that's most probably why what next transpires all kicks off when a baby needs delivering. As Mothers go ga-ga - Doctors go la-la - plans go boom - and at the end of the day it all comes down to the Bride and the Groom.




THE REVIEW:
Now unlike my last 'Carry On' review (click here for 'Carry on Dick'), I'm very happy to say that this one is a lot more upbeat in tone. You see, I just love 'Carry on Matron' I do. It's one of those feel good movies that makes me laugh myself silly from beginning to end. Well, it's hilarious, it's very quotable, it's of its time, and all in all it reminds me of the best of the best of this funny film franchise.


Carry On Matron Film Poster


But before I tell you what I mean by this, let's have some filmic-facts first. (1) This production was recorded between the 11th of October and 26th of November, 1971. (2) All of the interior scenes were shot at Pinewood Studio, Buckinghamshire. Whilst the exterior scenes where of The White House and St Mary's Church, Denham, Buckinghamshire, plus the Heatherwood Hospital in Berkshire. (3) This film cost £224,995 to make. (4) It took Kenneth Connor six days to film all the scenes he was in. (5) In the scene were Doctor Goode and Matron both sit down and watch the medical drama together, they're actually watching a piece taken from Hattie Jaques film debut -- 'Green for Danger'. (6) This was the first 'Carry On' comedy to feature comedic actor, Jack Douglas. Where as it was the last 'Carry On' comedy to feature June's Hubby, Terry Scott. (7) If you look very closely at Doctor Prodd's wall, there are two relatable films stills to take note of. The first one is of Fenella Fielding from 'Carry On Screaming', and the second one is of Shakira Caine from 'Carry On Again Doctor'. (8) Allegedly, Kenneth Williams showed his ass to a couple of guests when they came to visit the film set. (9) Jack Douglas got paid for his cameo in this film with twelve bottles of Dom Perignon champagne. (10) Bernard Bresslaw was instructed to wear a wig if he wanted to appear in this movie. (11) Including 'Carry on Abroad', this is the only other 'Carry On' production that had the greatest number of 'regulars' in total -- eleven.


Up The Butt with Carry On Matron


OK, I know what you're thinking to yourself -- why do I like 'Carry On Matron' so much, right? Or maybe you're just wondering if you have left the fridge door open or something. Nonetheless, whatever the case may be, the fact remains that this flick is a very good flick for two very simple reasons - personality and wit.

Now where 'the personality' is concerned, the overall sheen of this comedy lends itself to both seventies charm and style. The characters are archetypal. The performances are overt and in tune with the story. Plus the incremental nature that the numerous sub-plots eventually manages' to intertwine with one another, is just very cleverly constructed indeed.

As for 'the wit' on the other hand? Well, it's not everyday that you get to see two very camp-characters pining after a big lady, is it? Also, although the nudity on show is very tongue and cheek -- so to speak -- it enhances, and does not distract from the conceit this piece is trying to convey. Honest to God, this is one of my most favorite 'Carry On' films -- as it effortlessly meanders back and forth between silliness, story, and mad-cap hijacks, all of which make me smile from ear to ear all the way through it. Here, check out this clip to see what I mean.




See? Wasn't that a right hoot! No wonder Mike Myers took the essence of the 'Carry On' movies, and inserted them into his 'Austin Powers' trilogy (click here for the review). I truly wish that the British film industry took a leaf out of Mike's book you know, and injected some life back into this long-forgotten comedy franchise.

Well, stranger things have happened, huh? 


Babs and Bob in Carry On Matron


Say no more, ha!

THE RATING: A