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Monday, 3 September 2012

Countdown to Skyfall - Carry on Spying

Before 1967's Casino Royale, before Austin Powers, the Carry On series provided cinema's first James Bond spoof - and make no mistake this was a spoof of James Bond - James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli objected to the character name "James Bind agent 006½" and threatened legal action. Producer Peter Rogers therefore changed the name to Charlie and the agent's code number to double 0 - ooh! Poster artist Tom Chantrell also had to modify the poster when similar complaints were voiced that the artwork was too similar to From Russia with Love.

A top secret chemical formula has been stolen by STENCH (the Society for the Total Extinction of Non-Conforming Humans), and so Agent Simpkins and his three trainees are hot on the trail, chasing the villains across the world. Kenneth Williams is agent Simpkins who is sent out with three trainee agents to bring STENCH to justice.

All of the Bondian elements are present and correct - there's some great spoofing of the usual Q/Bond scene as well as everything else with the kitchen sink thrown in for good measure. Barbara Windsor, here in her first Carry On, is a stand out as Ms Honeybutt and displays great chemistry alongside pros Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtry. Worth mentioning are Judith Furse who gives a great comic performance as baddie, Dr Crow and Jim Dale cuts a fine figure as the dashing, Carstairs.

I'm not at all sure how well known the Carry On series is in the US, but American viewers wanting to check out this movie can expect a lot of bawdy sauce and British seaside postcard humour in this better than average entry in the long running UK film series.

Carry on Spying, as well as being the first to feature Barbara Windor's bust, was the last in the series to be made in black and white.

Check out the trailer below:

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