Sunday, 14 August 2011

Carry On Bond

It occurred to me last week as I discussed the Bond traits or memes in Carry On Spying that there are other connections between the Bond and Carry On films. Both are enormously popular long-running series (although the Bond series is still a few films short of the 31 films produced by the Carry On team) whose production is based at Pinewood Studios. And some of the humour in the Bond films, especially that of Roger Moore, wouldn’t be out of place in a Carry On film either. The longevity and the fact of working out of the same base have inevitably meant that both series have shared actors and production staff. Here are a few of them.

An iconic image of the Bond films is Shirley Eaton covered head to toe in gold paint in Goldfinger (1964). The image may have been somewhat shocking to British film-goers, as Shirley Eaton was well known to them mainly as an actress in comedy films. Three of those films were Carry Ons. Her first was Carry On Sergeant (1958). Eaton played Mary Sage, who, on being deprived of her husband on her wedding day (he's been called up for National Service) joins the NAAFI (the forces' catering service) to be with him. Eaton followed this with Carry On Nurse (1959), taking a leading role as accident-prone nurse Dorothy Denton. In her third film, Carry On Constable (1960), she has the smaller part of Sally Barry, a victim of a burglary.

There have been other Bond girls who have also been in Carry On films. After appearing in Goldfinger as Dink, Margaret Nolan was seen in a minor role in Carry On Cowboy (1965).This was followed by appearances in a further five Carry On films, most memorably as Dawn Brakes in Carry On Girls (1973), who, in the course of her bid to be crowned Miss Fircombe in a seaside beauty pageant, has a scrap with Hope Springs, played by Barbara Windsor. Then there is Valerie Leon, who took roles in six Carry On films before featuring in The Spy Who Loved Me (1976) as a hotel receptionist. As a Carry On alumnus, she more than matches Roger Moore for suggestive dialogue and knowing looks in her exchanges with him. Eva Reuber-Staier had a small but notable role in three Bond films as General Gogol’s secretary, Rublevitch (or Rubelvitch). Before her first Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, the actress and former Miss World 1969 had appeared in Carry On Dick (1974) as a member of a troupe of saucy 18th-century entertainers.

Some of the production crew had also worked on both series. Alan Hume was one. The director of photography on For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983) and A View to a Kill (1985) was first a camera operator, then the director of photography for the Carry On series. He worked on twenty films, beginning with Carry On Sergeant, and finishing with the final Carry On film, Columbus, in 1992. Anthony Waye, executive producer on the Bond series and currently working on the forthcoming Bond 23, was the assistant director for Carry On Jack (1963), a naval romp set on board HMS Venus in the early 19th century. Another important Bond regular who was involved with the Carry Ons was Peter Lamont. The Oscar-winning production designer was assistant art director on Carry On Matron (1972).

Incidentally, apart from Carry On Spying, there is another Bond reference, albeit a small one, in a Carry On film. In Carry On Loving (1970), Sophie Bliss, one half of the Wedded Bliss marriage agency, has a private detective, Bedsop, played by Charles Hawtrey, follow her husband, Sidney Bliss (Sid James), who she suspects of infidelity. Bedsop ineptly disguises himself as an Indian gentleman, and is rumbled by Sidney Bliss. Bedsop tries to maintain his cover, much to Bliss' amusement, who calls Bedsop a ‘Bombay Bond’.

Reference:

Webber, R, 2005 The complete A-Z of everything Carry On, Harper Collins

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