Monday, 6 April 2009

Carry on

The Carry On films take their name from the first of them, Carry On Sergeant. Of that title, Wikipedia tells us:
"Carry on Sergeant" is a normal expression for an army officer to use. The title was used to cash in on the popularity of the 1957 film Carry On Admiral, which was written by Val Guest ... Carry on Sergeant had not been conceived as the start of a movie series; only after the film's surprising success did the producer Peter Rogers and director Gerald Thomas set about planning a further project. After reusing the Carry On prefix and some cast members in their next project Carry On Nurse (1959) and having success with that film, the Carry On series of films evolved.
It works not only (the obvious reason) because it taps into something profound, if slightly self-flattering, about the British psyche (that we get on with things, even in adversity, and laughingly too) but because it is self-reflexive. It directs our attention to what is being carried on, let's say to the stage, the visual scene of the film: what is transported (we are transported; that's us up there). But the irony is that these are films that in one sense do not 'carry', do not travel: foreigners do not find them as hilarious as we do.

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