This one seems to me to be an underrated “Carry On” film – which, again, the series website mini-review puts down by labeling it atypical (the school setting making CARRY ON TEACHER feel more like an unofficial entry in the contemporaneous “St. Trinian’s” franchise, which I’m only vaguely familiar with and has actually just been revived)!
While there are some flat spots on occasion, and a few of the gags are extended to their ultimate detriment, the film is generally hilarious (with a fair share of side-splitting moments); besides, the series’ notorious lewdness – mainly evident in the previous entry, CARRY ON NURSE (1959),during its closing moment – is inescapable here, given that Joan Sims’ physical education teacher has been suggestively named Allcock (which Leslie Philips’ character keeps harping on, having fallen for her at first-sight)!
Several of the actors from NURSE return here: these include unacknowledged series performers such as the afore-mentioned Philips (again, incarnating the playboy type but who also happens to be a child psychologist!),Rosalind Knight (her small role as the studious nurse has been amplified here to the similarly workaholic school auditor – though she’s made to share a hesitant romance with Kenneth Connor, playing the nuclear scientist this time around but relentlessly flubbing his lines in anxiety) and Cyril Chamberlain (the delusional patient of CARRY ON NURSE is now the school janitor).
Kenneth Williams, then, is the English Literature teacher (he’s been assigned to stage “Romeo & Juliet” for the annual prize-day – the students, however, are disappointed that the text has been significantly ‘cleaned-up’!); Charles Hawtrey is the music instructor (who is also to provide accompaniment for the play – the constant bickering between both teachers over whether predominance should be given to Shakespeare’s words or the dramatic emphasis allowed by the score is one of the film’s mainstays, with Williams questioning Hawtrey’s very talent by comparing the latter’s work to a dirge…and, sure enough, that’s what his eventual ‘incidental music’ sounds like on the day of the performance!); corpulent Hattie Jacques is once again the indomitable female type, playing the maths professor.
Ted Ray – whom I’d never heard of, but is supposedly a comedy institution in Britain – is the long-suffering acting headmaster. He’s against punishing students, though he’s almost driven to it after the children turn the school – the address, by the way, is on Maudlin Street! – upside down during the inspectors’ one-week stay…except that this transpires to be a deliberate scheme on their part to quash Ray’s chance at a position in another college, because they don’t want him to leave!! The latter element actually leads to an uncharacteristic, sentimental GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS-style ending.
Among the highlights are Connor’s hand-made rocket going through the roof during science class, Hawtrey falling through the floor of a room, Sims’ judo attack on the persistent Philips, the students’ various pranks on their instructors (such as having the tea spiked with alcohol, spreading itching powder in the teachers’ room, or faking a bomb plant),and the disastrous climactic performance of “Romeo & Juliet”.
P.S. Incidentally, a British comic who excelled in playing schoolmasters was Will Way – and in one of these, THE GOOSE STEPS OUT (1942),Charles Hawtrey himself was featured as a student!
Carry on Teacher
Carry on Teacher
Pupils run amok at Maudlin Street School in an attempt to hang on to their headmaster. He has applied for a new job, but the students like him and don't want to lose him. They concoct a plan - blacken his record in front of the Ministry Inspector and then he won't ever be able to get another job!—Simon N. McIntosh-Smith
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