Carry on up the Khyber

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Director:                       Gerald Thomas
Producer:                     Peter Rogers
Script:                           Talbot Rothwell
Cinematography:        H.A.R. Thompson and Ernest Steward
Music:                            Eric Rogers

All images are



I'm actually quite surprised that no one has yet emailed me and asked why on earth I have a Carry On film included in the auspicious selection of films here. Well simply put they were too important a genre not to have and if this film doesn't give you several belly laughs - there is clearly something wrong with you already:)...

It's the golden age for the British in India. Queen Victoria is on the throne, Her Majesty's governors are living the life of luxury, and all is harmonious…well nearly everything...In the northern Province of Kalabar, things are stirring. The Karsi of Kalabar, (Kenneth Williams) is desperate to throw the British out of India. But since his province is policed by the 3rd Foot & Mouth (‘The Devils in Skirts’) this seems impossible. Their reputation for being fearless and invincible is fueled by their reputation for wearing nothing under their kilts. Then one of his neighbouring tribal leaders, Bungdit Din (Bernard Bresslaw), brings him a pair of woolen underpants, taken from a particularly ineffective guard at the infamous Khyber Pass. If all of the local tribes see this, they will rise up! And so the scene is set for, in my view the best of the carry on films.

Filmed in 1968 and set in British India in 1895, ‘Carry On Up the Khyber’ is one of the team's most memorable efforts. Sid James plays Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond, the unflappable British Governor who must deal with the snakelike, scheming Khasi. All actors make memorable contributions although special mention should be made of Peter Butterworth as the slightly over – zealous evangelist. The performances, especially by Kenneth Williams and Bernard Bresslaw as the local chiefs, is superb. Roy Castle fills in a ‘Jim Dale’ type role as Captain Keen and Angela Douglas is suitably beautiful and innocent as the Princess Jelly (what!!) Joan Sims gives Sid a rough time beautifully...

The Carry On films ran for twenty years and were pivotal in forming what British comedy was to be during these years. Yes they can’t be compared in terms of adapted screenplay or cinematography with some of the other films on this website but that’s not what this is here for. It represents a huge portion of British culture in that period and besides it’s really funny. To have a site on British film and not include a Carry On movie would, well, just not be cricket…










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Carry on up the Khyber