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.