Top 20 British War Films – 3 Carry on up the Kyhber

The Think Defence Top 20 British War Film Countdown

Chosen not on their artistic merit, historical accuracy or 100% Britishness but just because I think they are great and well worth a watch.

The big 3

Details - Carry on up the Kyhber

Cast; Kenneth Williams The Khasi of Kalabar, Sid James (as Sidney James) Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond, Charles Hawtrey Pte. James Widdle, Roy Castle Capt. Keene

Certificate; M

Release Date; Thu Dec 12 1968

IMDB Rating; 6.8

Runtime (Runtime in minutes); 88

Tagline (Branding slogan); Gales of laughter as the wind blows up the Khyber and the kilts of the ‘Carry On’ army! [Australia theatrical]

Writers; Talbot Rothwell (screenplay)

51196F9PRBL Top 20 British War Films   3 Carry on up the Kyhber

Filmed in 1968 and set in British India in 1895, Carry On Up the Khyber is one of the team’s most memorable efforts.

Sid James plays Sid James as ever, though nominally his role is that of Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond, the unflappable British Governor who must deal with the snakelike, scheming Khasi of Khalabar, played by Kenneth Williams.

A crisis occurs when the mystique of the “devils in skirts” of the 3rd Foot and Mouth regiment is exploded when one of their number, the sensitive-to-draughts Charles Hawtrey, is discovered by the natives to be wearing underpants.

Revolt is in the offing, with Bernard Bresslaw once again playing a seething native warrior.

Roy Castle neatly plays the sort of role normally assigned to Jim Dale, as the ineffectual young officer, Peter Butterworth is a splendid compromised evangelist, while Terry Scott puts his comedic all into the role of the gruff Sergeant. Most enduring, however, is the final dinner party sequence in which the British contingent, with the Burpas at the gates of the compound, and plaster falling all about them, demonstrate typical insouciance in the face of imminent peril.

The “I’m Backing Britain” Union Jack hoist at the end, however, over-excitedly reveals the streak of reactionary patriotism that lurked beneath the bumbling double-entendres of most Carry On films

Carry On Up The Khyber – UK Trailer

Wikipedia - Carry on up the Khyber

Watch it because…

Just soak up the glorious late sixties era humour, Welsh scenery and the devils in skirts!

Captain Keene: [news of the native revolt arrives] What do you intend to do, sir?
Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond: Do? Do? We’re British. We won’t do anything…
Major Shorthouse: …until it’s too late.
Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond: Exactly. That’s the first sensible thing you’ve said all day.

The dinner party scene, one of the funniest pieces of cinema ever

Carry On Up The Khyber – funny scene

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2 thoughts on “Top 20 British War Films – 3 Carry on up the Kyhber

  1. IXION

    Point of information.

    ‘I’m backing Britain’, was a campaign to try and increase UK production competitiveness by asking workers in factories to work 1extra hour week unpaid.

    The slogan appeared everywhere at the way time. Not sure it was meant as anything more than a final gag.

    Anyway nothing 1960s about Britain’s sense of superiority, lots of the wasawpyk crowd, on this site still write as if the natives will run away at one flash of the devils in skirts err ‘weapons’. Indeed might it be uncharitably to suggest both Iraq and Afghan follies planned on that basis?

  2. John Hartley

    Kenneth Williams looking at the raised kilts “Don’t run away, there is nothing to be scared of”. He looks again “Ooh, I don’t know though” & runs away himself. Anyway, 2 days of Tiffin now.

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