Carry on Cleo

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Two Britons, Hengist and Horsa, are captured and enslaved by invading Romans and taken to Rome. One of their first encounters in Rome leaves Hengist being mistaken for a fighter, and gets drafted into the Royal Guard to protect Caesar.

ACTORS :  Kenneth Williams, Sidney James, Kenneth Connor

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1964

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Carry on Cleo  Two Britons are captured and enslaved by invading Romans and taken to Rome. Hengist Pod creates useless inventions, while Horsa is a brave and cunning fighter. One of their first encounters in Rome leaves Hengist being mistaken for a fighter, and gets drafted into the Royal Guard to protect Caesar. Cleo doesn’t want him around and plots for his sudden demise…

One of the best of a very funny series.

Carry on Cleo  What was more deserving in its day of being given a glorious sendup than the monumental production of “Cleopatra” with Liz and Dick’s on- and off-set romantic interludes, so fulsomely (and scandalously – Can you believe it?!?) documented in worldwide tabloids?

20th-Century Fox rather carelessly left behind some quite elaborate sets at Pinewood Studios when production on the first attempt to film this spectacular under the direction of Rouben Mamoulian had to be shut down and then abandoned in London, when Elizabeth Taylor experienced one of her many life-threatening illnesses. (Other IMDb-ers err in stating that the abandoned sets used were those from the Joseph L. Mankiewicz version filmed at Cinecitta in Rome and on various locations in Italy, Spain and Egypt.) When M-G-M finished production of “Ben-Hur” (1959) in Italy they prudently destroyed the massive sets to prevent those cleverly thrifty Italian producers of sword-and-sandal “epics” from taking advantage of the bounty left behind.

The “Carry On” series may not have translated all that well to American shores, but I recall standing in line in Westwood, California, to see “Carry On Nurse” and enjoyed several of the later productions in this lengthy British franchise of satirical and slapstick humor. They were great fun and the new DVD collection is no doubt worth the price for aficionados of the series.

Carry On Heaven

Carry on Cleo stands head and shoulders above the rest of this variable comic series, combining a genuinely witty script, excellent performances and good production values (thanks to the use of sets from the previous years Burton-Taylor production).

it seems that the scriptwriter and cast,let off the normal constraints of the series, were determined to excel.

In addition to the oft-quoted Kenneth Williams line (‘Infamy, Infamy, they’ve all got it in for me!’), there are other gems; ‘Ptolemy?’ , ‘I AM TELLING YOU!!!’, and to Gloria, the British girl who falls ill aboard ship – ‘Oh well, Sic Transit Gloria!’.

If you only see one Carry On film, make sure that this is it.

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