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at your wit end

Carry On at Your Convenience

Carry On at Your Convenience, released in 1971, is the 22nd film of the Carry On series and was the first box office failure of the series. The failure has been attributed to the film's attempt at exploring the political themes of the trade union movement, crucially portraying the union activists as buffoons. This apparently alienated the traditional working-class audience of the series. The film, known as 'Carry On Round the Bend' outside the United Kingdom, did not return full production costs until 1976 after several international and television sales.

Plot Summary

In lavatory factory W.C. Boggs and Son, the factory owner W.C. Boggs (Kenneth Williams) is having no end of trouble with the bolshie union representative, Vic Spanner (Kenneth Cope). Spanner continually stirs up trouble in the works, calling a strike for almost any minor incident - or because he wants time off to attend a football match. Sid Plummer (Sid James) is the factory foreman struggling to keep the place going amid all the unrest.

Meanwhile camp lavatory designer Charles Coote (Charles Hawtrey) has designed a bidet, while W.C.'s son Lewis (Lew) Boggs (Richard O'Callaghan) has secured a large order to purchase bidets. It is a deal that could save the struggling firm, but WC objects to the manufacture of such "distasteful" items as bidets.

Vic's dim stooge Bernie Hulke (Bernard Bresslaw) provides bumbling assistance in both his union machinations and in his attempts to woo Sid's daughter and factory canteen worker Myrtle (Jacki Piper) away from love-rival Lew Boggs.

Unusually for Sid James his character is a faithful husband albeit a sorely tempted one. Sid's wife is Beattie (Hattie Jacques), a lazy housewife who does little but fuss over her pet budgie Joey that refuses to talk despite her concerted efforts. Sid's neighbour and co-worker Chloe Moore (Joan Sims) contends with the endless strikes and with a crude, travelling salesman husband Fred (Bill Maynard) who neglects her and leaves her dissatisfied. She and Sid enjoy a flirtatious relationship.

Sid and Beattie find that their budgie can correctly predict winners of horseraces; Sid places the bets and makes several large wins before being barred by his bookie.

At a works outing to Brighton Lew Boggs manages to win Myrtle from Vic Spanner. A good time is had by all on the outing with barriers coming down between workers and management, thanks largely to that great social lubricant, alcohol. W.C. becomes intoxicated and spends the day with his faithful secretary Miss Withering (Patsy Rowlands). After arriving home late after the outing and with Fred away, Chloe invites Sid in for a cup of tea. They fight their desires and ultimately decide to not have the tea, fearing that neighbours might see Sid enter Chloe's home and get the wrong idea.

At work the next day Spanner gets his comeuppance and the workers and management all pull together to produce the order to save the firm.

Behind the scenes

After criticism of his character leering at young girls in Carry On Camping (1969), here Sid James' character was changed from being a lascivious girl chaser to the put upon family man similar to the character he portrayed in the TV sitcom Bless This House . In the next film Carry On Matron (1972) his character was preoccupied with thieving, but took time to make the odd suggestive comments to nurses (including one played by Jacki Piper who was his daughter in this film). Sid's girl chasing persona was fully reinstated for subsequent films.

Notes

External links

See also

  • Prague Philharmonic, Gavin Sutherland conducting. The carry on album: music from the films : London, England : ASV, p1999. LCCN 00300982

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