Carry On Up the Khyber

DirectorGerald Thomas
Length88 mins
StarringSidney James as Sir Sidney Rough-Diamond
Kenneth Williams as the Khazi of Khalabar
Roy Castle as Captain Keene
Charles Hawtree as Private Widdle
Terry Scott as Sgt-Mjr MacNutt
Joan Sims as Lady Joan Rough-Diamond

This film is not for the faint-hearted. There are few sacred cows as the Carry On team set their sites on the Imperial Raj and the North West Frontier. The jokes and puns come thick and fast as the Carry On team hilariously tear imperial pretensions to pieces.

The story revolves around the local Burpa tribesmen discovering that the 3rd Foot and Mouth Regiment (you should be getting an idea of the standard of puns used throughout the film) are not all that they are reputed to be. British invincibility is questioned when they discover that some of the British soldiers are wearing underwear under their kilts. Uproar ensues as the Khazi of Kalibar tries to send the North West Frontier into rebellion with a picture of the underwear-clad regiment.

Sir Sidney Ruffdiamond, the unflappable British Governor, sends an undercover unit in to the North West Frontier to try and retrieve the photo. Naturally, the hapless undercover agents bungle it all up and set the whole Frontier alight. The film comes to a wonderful climax as the British Residency is attacked by Burpas. Unperturbed, the stiff upper lipped British continue to host a dinner party as the Burpas attack relentlessly. Wonderfully ludicrous and surprisingly fascinating. This film plays on stereotypes - but it does it in a way that lampoons all on an equal basis.

The film was shot in the 1960s and sheds more light on the post-imperial hangover in Britain than anything about the Raj. And yet, this film is a classic. Beautiful scenery (shot in Snowdonia), wonderful costumes (taken from Zulu) and an excellent script. Sit back and enjoy.

Buy this DVD at: Amazon

Media | Silver Screen


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by Stephen Luscombe