Jane and I watched a Carry on movie last night (Carry on Camping), the first we have seen for a long time. I am not entirely sure that I have seen this particular film before although several of the scenes, repeated in various comedy highlights programmes over the years, were definitely not new to me. It doesn’t make much difference though as the series was noted more for cross-genre continuity rather than delivering anything particularly innovative with each successive scenario. Many of the characters even routinely shared the same first names as the actors portraying them. I suppose this is the equivalent of the image of the Englishman abroad finding a way to tuck into the comfort food of fish and chips wherever he is in the world.
That image is, of course, gradually changing; even the most meat-and-two-veg homes would not think it odd to have Indian, Chinese or other cuisines joining the menu from time to time. Plenty else has also changed since the film was made in 1969. The cars are odd little things and the streets seem strangely empty, although Jane did suggest that some of the clothes are not so different from today’s fashions.
One thing that definitely marks it out as a film that couldn’t be made (certainly for general release) in the last few years is the fact that significant points of the plot hinge around suggestive and suggested relationships between older men and schoolgirls. Barbara Windsor (playing Babs, the ringleader of the girls) was already 32 when the film was made and I would be surprised if any of her “schoolmates” were played by actresses under 21. Nonetheless, modern authors would only dream of such scenarios if depicted as dark and twisted rather than a bit of harmless fun. Attitudes have definitely changed although I am sure a visitor from 1969 would also find plenty of moral turpitude to comment on if they visited us in the 21st century.
Plus ça change!