DVD
The Carry On Collection (2007)
Carry On Sergeant (1958)

Starring: William Hartnell, Bob Monkhouse, Shirley Eaton, Eric Barker, Dora Bryan, Bill Owen and Kenneth Connor
Optimum Classic
RRP: 12.99
OPTD0719
Certificate: U
Available 29 January 2007


Fall in for the first ever film in the highly acclaimed
Carry On comedy series - now an acclaimed British institution. Kenneth Williams, Kenneth Connor and Charles Hawtrey are prankish misfits who become the hilarious bane of an army officer's existence when he makes a bet he will turn them into star award soldiers - or bust...

Carry On Sergeant (1958) was the first Carry On movie and revolves around sergeant Grimshaw (William Hartnell), who is close to retirement. His last group of National Service recruits are about to join. They include newlywed Charlie Sage (Bob Monkhouse), separated from his bride by being called up on his wedding day. Grimshaw has bet his fellow officers that he can get his men through training with the highest honours and win the Star Squad prize. His men, however, are complete incompetents and get everything disastrously wrong. Meanwhile, Sage's bride, Mary (Shirley Eaton), can't bear to be separated from her husband and hatches a plan to be near him.

Some of the characters that would go on to form the regular Carry On team over the years were appear her for the first time - already moulded into the characters that they would latter go on to be so recognisable for. These including Kenneth Connor, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey and Hattie Jacques.

To be honest, this is not one of the best Carry On's for you if you were brought up on the innuendo of the later movies - there's barely more than a handful of smiles to be had here. However, what it lacks in seaside postcard humour, it more than makes up for in story and the characters are all instantly likeable.

Extras include an audio commentary with Shirley Eaton, Dora Bryan, Terence Longdon and Carry On historian Robert Ross; stills gallery; trailer and trivia notes.

The commentary is interesting as Bryan moans (in an amusing way) about the fact she was the focus of two episodes of This is Your Life. In fact most of the amusing anecdotes come from Bryan who, with the help of Eaton, constantly take the commentary off in another direction, leaving Ross struggling to keep them all talking about the movie. Bryan recounts how Connor died after appearing with her in pantomime and states that she knows it was hard work, but that was ridiculous. Bryan also confuses Eric Barker for Ronnie Barker. When she's told that he is dead now she states: "But Ronnie Corbert's still with us." It soon becomes apparent that Bryan has been drinking throughout the commentary.

If you don't already own this movie, it's well worth picking up - if only to see how the whole series kicked off.

Darren Rea

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