Publicity

 

 


Story

Julius Caesar (Kenneth Williams) is having second thoughts about invading Britain.  The constant rain is playing havoc with his health, but when his friend Mark Antony (Sid James) presents him with the captive Gloria (Julie Stevens) his laurels perk up. 

Gloria’s boyfriend Horsa (Jim Dale) and neighbour Hengist Pod (Kenneth Connor) mount a rescue attempt but they are soon captured by the Romans and shipped off to a slave market in Rome.  Narrowly escaping an appointment with the lions in the coliseum, Hengist and Horsa make for Egypt, where Caesar and Mark Antony plan an alliance with the beautiful queen Cleopatra (Amanda Barrie).  But unbeknown to Caesar, Mark Antony and Cleo are plotting his demise and an entirely different kind of alliance. 

 

A Peter Rogers Production
Directed by Gerald Thomas

1964
Colour

Screenplay: Talbot Rothwell
Music: Eric Rogers
Certificate A/PG
92 minutes

Julius Caesar - Kenneth Williams
Mark Anthony Sid James
Henghist Pod - Kenneth Connor
Seneca -

Charles Hawtrey

Calpurnia - Joan Sims
Horsa -

Jim Dale

Cleopatra

- Amanda Barrie
Gloria - Julie Stephens
Senna Pod - Sheila Hancock
Sergeant Major - Victor Maddern
Soothsayer - Jon Pertwee
Agrippa - Francis de Wolff
Archimedes - Michael Ward
Brutus - Brian Oulton
Sosages - Tom Clegg
Virginia - Tanya Binning
Bilius - David Davenport
Galley Master - Peter Gilmore
Spencius - Warren Mitchell
Marcus - Gertan Klauber
Bidder - Wanda Ventham
Narrator - EVH Emmett

 

 

"Infamy, infamy - they've all got it in for me!"   Kenneth Williams' Julius Caesar is having a bad day in the funniest toga party of all time - a historical and hysterical take on the life and loves of the Queen of the Nile.  Follow the amorous adventures of Sidney James' Mark Anthony as he clinches with the gorgeous Amanda Barrie's sultry Cleopatra, in by far the most lavish looking of all the Carry On films.  With a brilliant Carry On cast including Jim Dale, Jon Pertwee, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims and Kenneth Connor as Hengist Pod, inventor of the square wheel!"
 

Review

Carry On Cleo is a tantalising glimpse of what the Carry On films could have looked like had they been filmed on the scale of the Hollywood blockbusters.  By nibbling at the big-budget crumbs left over from the Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor epic, “Cleopatra”, the team were able to inject some of the glamour of a $44m dollar film into their £200k romp.  

Man meets woman, man falls in love with woman, woman persuades man to murder his best friend – it is an age-old tale.  Everything else is just whimsy, but it’s delivered with such flair and playfulness that Carry On Cleo is so much more than just another low budget British comedy.

Carry On Cleo shines with confidence and bravado.  The solidly entertaining script from Talbot Rothwell doesn’t dwell too heavily on the intricacies of plot but instead paints a broad story filled with Carry On set pieces which allow the cast to stretch their comedy muscles.  The injection of big budget costumes and sets from its cinematic big brother is evident throughout so it’s ironic, but hardly surprising given the end result, that the Carry On re-telling of Cleopatra is remembered with far greater affection than the original.

It’s not quite the splendour that was Rome, but it’s as decent a glimpse as you’ll get for the price of a two bedroom semi.