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Carry On Camping (1969)

Courtesy of ITV Global Entertainment

Main image of Carry On Camping (1969)
DirectorGerald Thomas
Production CompanyAdder Productions
ProducerPeter Rogers
ScreenplayTalbot Rothwell
CinematographyErnest Steward
MusicEric Rogers

Cast: Sidney James (Sid Boggle); Kenneth Williams (Dr K. Soaper); Charles Hawtrey (Charlie Muggins); Terry Scott (Peter Potter); Joan Sims (Joan Fussey)

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A disparate group of campers band together to rid themselves of hippies planning an all-night rave next to their site.

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Although seemingly anarchic on the outside, the Carry On films were always inherently conservative on the inside. This is amply demonstrated by Carry On Camping (d. Gerald Thomas, 1969), which was filmed in the winter of 1968, shortly after the 'Summer of Love' and at the height of world-wide student unrest. Blessed with one of the most amusing of the Carry On titles, it rather surprisingly also serves as a comment by the filmmakers on young people, the new 'permissive society' and youth culture in general.

The film begins with a cinema audience of predominantly middle-aged men watching a 'naturist' film, introducing nudity to the series in such a way as to get past the censors and still be certified for viewing by all ages. This is partly achieved by having Sid James guffawing over the risqué images, while his girlfriend (played by Joan Sims) averts her eyes in embarrassment. James and Sims are ridiculously old for their roles as a courting couple still trying to get to first base (he was fifty-five, she thirty-eight), as is Barbara Windsor as a naughty schoolgirl (she was thirty-one!).

The dramatic contrast between the enclosed, static and make-believe logic of these films and the radical changes going on in the real world climaxes with the arrival of the young hippies at the end. Only then do the desultory plot strands and disparate characters come together to repel the ravers in the rather rushed finale. When the hippies leave, the schoolgirls join them, as does Charlie Muggins (Charles Hawtrey), who has been literally and figuratively an outsider throughout the narrative.

Betty Marsden, as Terry Scott's hectoring wife, frequently steals the show with her bizarre laugh, although inevitably the film will always be remembered as the one in which Barbara Windsor's bikini top flies off while she is exercising.

Sergio Angelini

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Video Clips
1. Camping shop (2:54)
2. Delicate and refined girls (1:59)
3. Bedding down (2:36)
4. Early morning exercises (2:21)
Production stills
Bresslaw, Bernard (1934-1993)
Jacques, Hattie (1922-1980)
James, Sidney (1913-1976)
Roome, Alfred (1908-1997)
Rothwell, Talbot (1916-1981)
Scott, Terry (1927-1994)
Sims, Joan (1930-2001)
Windsor, Barbara (1937-)
Carry On
The Carry On Legacy