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Carry On Cleo (1964, Amanda Barrie, Sid James)

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Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar, toga’d up and as camp as Butlins gets to utter probably the most quoted line from all the Carry Ons: ‘Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me’ is a stroke of genius in a script packed with similar gems by the series’ best writer, Talbot Rothwell.

This was the start of the series’ most essential era, with the equally brilliant Carry On Cowboy and Carry On Screaming following immediately. All the actors were available and hitting their peaks: Dale and Connor are excellent as the bumbling Brits who save the Roman Empire by accident; James is perfect as a leery, ambitious and cynical Mark Anthony (surely Shakespeare’s portrait to a T?); and in among the reliably funny performances from Williams, Hawtrey and Sims is an eye-catching turn from the gorgeous Barrie, not a regular but a memorable Queen of the Nile.

The costumes and set were ‘borrowed’ from Burton and Taylor’s Cleopatra. This is the better film.

The famous ‘Infamy’ line first appeared in a Take It From Here radio script by Frank Muir and Denis Norden.

production details
UK / Rank / 94 minutes / 1964

Director: Gerald Thomas
Writers: Talbot Rothwell,

cast
Jim Dale as Horsa
Joan Sims as Calpurnia
Jon Pertwee as Soothsayer
Michael Ward as Archimedes
Charles Hawtrey as Seneca
Kenneth Williams as Caeser
Brian Oulton as Brutus
Victor Maddern as Segeant-Major
Sid James as Marc Anton
Kenneth Connor as Hengist Pod
Amanda Barrie as Cleopatra
Julie Stevens as Gloria
Francis de Wolff as Agrippa
Sheila Hancock as Senna Pod
Wanda Ventham as Pretty Bidder

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