Carry On Women

From what I have seen so far during my research one thing has kept jumping out at me, and that is how the women in the ‘Carry On’ films are portrayed compared to Brenda and Audrey who are in the ‘Bounty’ Ad, Brenda and Audrey as we know by now are two men dressed as women, not your average ‘Carry On leading lady who always had a big chest, tiny waste and looked like what is known as a trophy girl.

 Some of the beauties who appeared in Carry On films 1950’s to 1970’s. Pictures of the women (usually busty) who appeared in the films. (10-11-09)

Valerie Leon – Carry On Up The Jungle (in skimpy outfit)


Shirley Eaton – Carry On Constable (with Leslie Phillips)


Sally Geeson – Carry On Abroad


Barbara Windsor- Carry On Camping (famous bit when her top comes of)


Amanda Barrie – Carry On Cleo (as Cleopatra)


Angela Douglas – Carry On Cowboy


Elizabeth Fraser – Carry On Cruising (in underwear)


Suzanne Danielle – Carry On Emmanuelle (in shower)


Anita Harris – Carry On Follow That Camel (as a belly dancer)


Margaret Nolan – Carry On Henry


Jacki Piper – Carry On Up The Jungle


Imogen Hassell – Carry On Loving (with Sid James)


Joan Sims – Carry On Cowboy


As you can see all beautiful women whereas Brenda and Audrey


 Not really a similarity.

 The women do not disrupt the narratives, because the aim is social consensus. They are either beautiful (Shirley Eaton in Sergeant and the nurse, 1956) or efficient (Hattie Jacques in Nurse, Joan Sims in Constable, 1960) Rothwells scripts are parodic, buildings on audiences’ film memories. More importantly they are absolutely focused on sexual desire and its pursuit. In Carry On Spying (1964), Agent Daphne Honeybutt (Barbara Windsor) is the cleverest of the spy team, and in Carry On Cleo (1964) all the women, from Amanda Barrie as Cleopatra to Sheila Hancock as Senna Pod, have the time of their lives. In Carry On Screaming (1966), the female undead Valeria (Fenella Fieldings) smokes with desire and inhales her lover, and in Carry On Doctor (1968), Matron Hattie Jacques, seducing Dr Tinkle (Kenneth Williams), promises that “you wont be disappointed, the young birds may be tender, but the older ones have more flavour”. His rejoinder is coarse (to do with stuffing turkeys), but the point has been made: women should speak their desires, even though their men are poltroons. Carry On Cabby is particularly significant. Peggy (Hattie Jacques) is neglected by husband Charlie (Sid James), and founds a female taxi company in revenge. Her miniskirts GlamCabs drivers have complaint expressions, but their rebellious inventiveness is the centre of the film. The most interesting character is Flo (Esma Cannon)’ a feisty pensioner who wears trousers, takes risks and is more intelligent then the men. In the end, Peggy is rescued by Charlie and, pregnant, returns to the family. It is a comic saturnalia after all, and order must be in restored, but here and in other Carry On’s, the women have a better time then in New Wave films.

 Women in British cinema: mad, bad, and dangerous to know,- Sue Harper – published 2000 – The 1960’s (sub-title) – page 117

 Comparing this to the Carry On girls we see today in the ‘Bounty’ advert, this seems to go against everything the Carry On girls stand for, could this be yet another subtle message? Or is it that Bounty is trying to say that their product is for everyone. Maybe the times where women were expected to be beautiful and almost heavenly are behind us and this is a step forward stating that men and women are equals and will be treated as such?


One Response to “Carry On Women”

  1. bill Says:

    Probably too late, but couldn’t resist. The bounty ‘women’ aren’t women in the carry on sense. They represent the matriarch as written by the 60s, Morecambe and Wise, the Two Ronnies… the list goes on. They are the pantomime dames. One could also argue they represent the fatuous depiction of a women’s place in the kitchen.

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