Director: Gerald Thomas
Starring: William Hartnell, Shirley Eaton, Eric Barker, Dora Bryan, Bil Owen, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Connor, Kenneth Williams
More info: IMDb
Tagline: The laughter hit of the century!
Plot: Sergeant Grimshaw wants to retire in the flush of success by winning the Star Squad prize with his very last platoon of newly called-up National Servicemen. But what a motley bunch they turn out to be, and it's up to Grimshaw to put the no-hopers through their paces.
My rating: 6.5/10
Will I watch it again? Yeah.
After WWII the British produced a lot of quality comedies and it seems to me they reached their zenith during the 1950s. I'm a huge fan of this era and their output, and I'll watch any of them as they have a much higher chance of being entertaining. Many years ago, upon reading about a beloved series of British comedies called 'Carry On', I purchased a box set of 14 or so films. That's a pretty bold thing to do considering I had only read about them. The CARRY ON series began with CARRY ON SERGEANT and proved so successful at the box office that they immediately cranked out another and it didn't stop until 1978 with the 30th film. (There was one more made in 1992).
This first entry is a rather straight up comedy and void of the bawdy humor the series would later be known for. I didn't find it particularly funny for the first hour and was beginning to wonder what all of the fuss is about. It was just harmless and mildly humorous but then something happened in the last half hour that the film picked up steam and had me almost rolling on the floor with laughter. That last 20-30 minutes is hilarious, insuring that I'll give the series a go. Hell, I bought nearly half the series; I might as well give it a shot before dismissing it. SERGEANT feels a lot like the Bill Murray classic, STRIPES (1981) but only the basic training part that ends with the platoon on parade. I really liked all of the actors. They're funny, distinctive and very likable. The situations are ripe for fodder and there are some really hilarious moments that will certainly keep me coming back to the CARRY ON well. It also doesn't hurt that it stars a pre-GOLDFINGER (1964) Shirley Eaton. Yummy.