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Carry on Sergeant

Carry On Sergeant promotional poster
Directed by Gerald Thomas
Produced by Peter Rogers
Written by Norman Hudis
Starring William Hartnell
Kenneth Williams
Kenneth Connor
Charles Hawtrey
Bob Monkhouse
Hattie Jacques
Music by Bruce Montgomery
Cinematography Peter Hennessy
Distributed by Anglo-Amalgamated
Release date(s) 1 August 1958
Running time 84 min.
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £73,000
Preceded by None
Followed by Carry On Nurse
(1959)

Carry On Sergeant is the first Carry On film. Its first public screening was on 1 August 1958 at Screen One, London. Actors in this film who went on to be part of the regular team in the series were Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Connor and Terry Scott. The film also starred William Hartnell, Bob Monkhouse, Shirley Eaton, Bill Owen, Eric Barker, Dora Bryan, Norman Rossington and Terence Longdon.

The film was based on a play The Bull Boys by R. F. Delderfield. Norman Hudis adapted this into a script with John Antrobus contributing additional material.

"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. At the time, the success of Carry On Sergeant prompted applause and audience laughter in serious settings where the phrase was used, including amongst audiences of the film The Devil's Disciple (1959).[1]

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.[2]

Contents

Plot

For six years Sergeant Grimshawe has been a training sergeant but never the leader of a champion platoon. He accepts a bet from another sergeant that in the next intake, his last before retirement, his squad will pass out top.

The next day Sergeant Grimshawe and his corporal, Corporal Copping, keenly survey the new arrivals. Among them are Charlie Sage, who was married the same morning to Mary and received his notification to report at once to the army during his wedding reception; Horace Strong - a weak willed hypochondriac who imagines himself to be suffering from every disease known to medical science and many that aren't; Miles Heywood - a popsy chasing layabout; Andy Galloway - a rock and roller; Pete Golightly - the clumsiest of clumsy types; and James Baily - an out-and-out individualist who considers the army old fashioned. Unfortunately for Sergeant Grimshawe, all these have been assigned to his squad.

Grimshawe tells Corporal Copping that he's been lumbered with a right shower and has no chance of winning the bet. The Corporal advises him to try kid glove tactics instead of his normal raging manner with the recruits.

That night the new boys visit the NAAFI along with Herbert Brown who has been on one training course after another and never qualified. Charlie, much to his delight, finds that Mary, his newly wedded wife, has followed him to the camp and wangled a temporary job in the NAAFI. She is befriended there by Nora who falls for Charlie's mate Horace. He is petrified when Nora starts making advances towards him.

Mary tells Charlie that Nora has fixed a spare bedroom for their wedding night. This doesn't work out quite as planned as both end up talking words of love to Sergeant Grimshawe!

The following morning Horace reports sick with a long list of imaginary ailment and is shocked to see a female medical officer - Captain Clark. This is the first of many visits to the M.O.....

As days of training pass by, Sergeant Grimshawe and Corporal Copping are becoming more and more gloomy. The squad is the most awkward and difficult they have ever handled and there seems no chance at all of them winning to coveted Star Squad prize. They have an uncanny aptitude for making the worst possible mess of everything they tackle.

The M.O. is fed up with Horace's visits. So she takes him to six specialists who confirm that there is nothing whatsoever wrong with him. What's more, they manage to convince him of the fact and he emerges a new man. Nora is delighted, but more than a little frightened when the new Horace gives her the caveman treatment.

In the hut the night before passing out parade (Sergeant Grimshawe's last day in the army) the shower decide that he has, after all, treated them pretty decently. With the new Horace in fine form they decide to give him an end of service present - and win the Star Squad award.

The passing out parade is watched by Captain Potts who is amazed to see what the Grimshawe squad can do. As they perform task after task with fantastic efficiency Grimshawe watches with tears in his eyes.

The squad have made it and with the Sergeant at their head, they march past the Inspecting General as the Star Squad. Grimshawe's ambition has been fulfilled.

Cast and Crew

Business data

  • Budget – £73,000 (estimated)
  • Gross – £500,000 (UK)
  • Filming dates – 24 March 1958 – 2 May 1958

Filming locations

Interiors:

Exteriors:

Royal Mail

On 10 June 2008, the Royal Mail issued a new first stamp that featured Carry On Sergeant, as part of a series to celebrate Carry On and Hammer horror films.[3][4]

Bibliography

  • Ross, Robert. The Carry On Companion, B. T. Batsford: London, 1996. ISBN 0-7134-7967-1

Notes

  1. ^ Ross, 1996. p. 16
  2. ^ Ross, 1996. p. 17
  3. ^ Lewinski, John Scott (2008-06-08). "Original Doctor Who Immortalized on Brit Stamp". The Underwire (CondéNet). http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2008/06/original-doctor.html. Retrieved 2008-06-08.  
  4. ^ "Classic Carry On and Hammer Films". Royal Mail. Royal Mail Group. http://www.royalmail.com/portal/stamps/content1?catId=32300674&mediaId=76000716. Retrieved 2008-06-08.  

External links

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