Carry On Matron (DVD)

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Carry On Matron (DVD)

In this episode of the popular comedy series, a con-man coerces his son into donning a nurse's uniform and sneaking into a hospital in order to steal ...

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Review of "Carry On Matron (DVD)"

published 23/07/2016 | Jarisleif
Member since : 11/02/2012
Reviews : 443
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Ciao gone the same way as DooYoo. Time to depart, methinks.
Pro A few good laughs
Cons Hasn't aged too well
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"Carry On Carrying On, Matron"

Matron - the object of Sir Bernard Cutting's desire

Matron - the object of Sir Bernard Cutting's desire

Carry On Matron (1972)

Directed by: Gerald Thomas

Writing Credits: Talbot Rothwell

Produced by: Peter Rogers

Genre: Comedy

Length: 87 minutes

Certificate: PG

IMDb Rating: 6.1

Starring: Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Charles Hawtrey

The film starts with that all-too-familiar "Carry On" cartoon introduction which displays the credits. In big bold white letters on a red background, we are proudly told that this is "Carry On Matron", the 23rd film in the franchise. It then tells us that it might be "From Here to Maternity, "Familiarity Breeds", "Womb at the Top", or "The Preggers Opera". No political correctness in those days, y'see. The cast and crew are then delivered to us (no pun intended), and it's on with the show. The first live action shots are of a hospital. More specifically, the Finisham Maternity Hospital. Pulling up at the hospital is a car with four men inside, Sid (Sid James), Ernie (Bernard Bresslaw), Freddy (Bill Maynard), and Cyril (Kenneth Cope). They are not there because their wives are giving birth, but to willingly steal pills. No ordinary pills, however, but the actual pill. Why they would want to half inch that I don't know, when you could get a multitude of other drugs in a hospital, I will never know.

I'm a simple woman with simple tastes, and I want to be wooed

The "Carry On" team likely need no introduction to those of us that grew up watching the films, but they all have their own individual traits. Sid James is a cheeky, lewd old man, who somehow gets a young woman, even though he is usually married to a battleaxe like Hattie Jacques. So he's basically Mick Jagger without the battleaxe, clearly. Barbara Windsor plays a bubbly nurse (no surprises there), and Bernard Bresslaw invariably always plays James' dim-witted sidekick. Also present is Kenneth Williams, nearly always the snotty-nosed higher up. This time out, he is Sir Bernard Cutting, a hypochondriac. What is different here, though, is that Joan Sims' character isn't as bossy as she usually is, but is on the other side of the fence this time around. She is pregnant but keeps getting admitted to hospital with gas because she can't stop eating. How good must it have been to continually have to eat sausage and chips while filming scenes? I would have purposely screwed up the lines, in order to get more grub! That's one thing I really miss about not living in the UK, food I had grown to love. I could go on with an extensive list, but I would digress heavily if I did and I'll leave it at that.

Well, now, you're three weeks overdue and your husband's getting very impatient

Let's face it, the "Carry On" films weren't brilliant, but they always put a smile on my face. It is true that they don't make films like they used to, and I can't actually remember the last comedy I watched that made me laugh. That's the trouble these days, nothing is original any more. No black and white box TVs, no hideous flowered wallpaper, or bobbies on the beat. Instead, we have older TV shows as films, or older films as TV shows. "The Omen", "Psycho" and "Ash vs. Evil Dead" have all been made into TV shows, while the likes of "Big", "Ghost", and "Taken" were all, at the time of writing, in production for the small screen. The viewing public is being cheated by the multitude of drab and dreary reality TV shows, remakes and reboots that nobody knows what's original any more, and if there is anything that grabs me, it is quickly cancelled. "Boss", "The Chicago Code", and "Vegas" are three excellent shows that suffered at the hands of the TV executives, while "Big Brother" continued. What the fascination with watching people do nothing all day long is, I will never know. If I wanted to do that, I'd follow my housekeepers around at the hotel I manage! Anyway, back to the film. There are things that you never see the first time around just because you're too young to put two and two together, but when I watched the film for reviewing purposes, I happened to notice that they had a Bun Ward and an Oven Ward, which I thought was quite amusing, or Kenneth Williams trying to seduce Hattie Jacques with his now infamous nasally 'Mmmatron' sneer that we're all too familiar with. Go on, admit it, you just tried to imitate it, didn't you.

I call her Hamlet because she thinks she's a Great Dane

I often wondered what would have happened to the cast of the films had the franchise not been as big as it was. Barbara Windsor and Terry Scott both made it afterwards, while Wendy Richard had a cameo role, and also went on to become a star in her own right. The truth is, nobody could ever predict the outcome of success, but I would imagine that the majority of actors would not have become household stars without riding on the back of the "Carry On" name. Then again, the likes of Sid James, Terry Scott and Peter Gilmore were always going to be stars in their own rights anyway. James was one of those actors that had already made his mark on the big screen before the "Carry On" franchise had begun, and, crucially, a film in the series would be his last. "Carry On Dick" (1974) would prove to be his curtain call in front of the camera, and he died two years later of a heart attack while performing on stage in a play. Arguably, Barbara Windsor is probably the most well-known of all, and became a fan-favourite in BBC's premier soap opera, "EastEnders". Of Terry Scott, well, everyone loved "Terry and June". Didn't they?

I'll be along as soon as I can park the au pair

When I was younger I thought that "Carry On Matron" was brilliant. Along with "Carry On Camping" (for the obvious Barbara Windsor scene), I put it ahead of the rest. Now I'm a bit older and I can see the films for what they are, I don't think too much of it. The jokes are there and the usual wisecracks are apparent, but it just feels old and dated. It is a strange one to call. I liked it but now I just think it's okay. Now I do think that maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to watch it, but I also feel that if by any miracle it would be on US TV, I likely wouldn't watch it. I own the DVD and I quite like having it in my collection, though I do not think I would bother putting it in the player ever again. The one thing that gave it a better mark was the sight of Bernard Bresslaw in a dress. It doesn't do anything for me, clearly, but I felt that the giant man dressed as a woman was something that was very funny. I also quite enjoyed the last 10-15 minutes, but I won't give the game away as to what happened, for those of you reading who haven't seen the film. "Carry On Matron" is still a classic as far as British comedy is concerned, but it is far from a timeless classic. The teenage me would no doubt disagree with the adult version, and I'm quite okay with that.
As far as the special features go, there is very little on the DVD. You get an audio commentary, gallery, and a trailer for the film. Very disappointing, to say the least.

My rating: 6.1/10

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Comments on this review

  • IzzyS published 21/10/2016
    Good review.
  • Pointress published 24/09/2016
  • pinotprincess published 05/09/2016
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Product Information : Carry On Matron (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

In this episode of the popular comedy series, a con-man coerces his son into donning a nurse's uniform and sneaking into a hospital in order to steal birth-control pills. This throws the staff, including neurotic surgeon Bernard Cutting (Kenneth Williams) and the strange psychiatrist Dr. F.A. Goode (Charles Hawtrey) into the sort of chaos we've come to expect for the Carry On team.


Listed on Ciao since: 27/03/2012