Publicity

 


Story

Despite the best efforts of a string of wives, King Henry (Sid James) still hasn’t managed to sire an heir to his throne.  His new wife, Queen Marie of Normandy (Joan Sims) is keen to get started in the bedchamber, but her insistence on consuming vast quantities of garlic means Henry just can’t get near her.  But Sir Roger de Lodgerley (Charles Hawtrey), the King’s taster, has a taste of Marie and she falls pregnant.

King Henry meets Bettina (Barbara Windsor), daughter of Charles, Earl of Bristol (Peter Butterworth) and falls hopelessly in love.  Despatching Queen Marie to the tower, Henry sets his sights on young Bettina. 

A Peter Rogers Production
Directed by Gerald Thomas

1971
Colour

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

King Henry VIII -
Sid James
Thomas Cromwell
Kenneth Williams
Sir Roger de Lodgerley -
Charles Hawtrey
Queen Marie -
Joan Sims
Cardinal Wolsey -
Terry Scott
Bettina -
Barbara Windsor

King of France

-
Peter Gilmore
Lord Hampton of Wick -
Kenneth Connor
Major Domo -
David Davenport
Buxom Woman -
Margaret Nolan
Physician -
William Mervyn
Farmer -
Derek Francis
Guy Fawkes -
Bill Maynard
Warder -
Dave Prowse
Queen -
Patsy Rowlands
Gurard -
Billy Cornelius
Royal Tailor -
John Bluthal
Heckler -
Anthony Sagar
Warder -
Brian Wilde
The Earl of Bristol -
Peter Butterworth

 

 

"Carry On Henry is the (almost) true story of Henry VIII's love life.

Discover previously hidden details of Henry's private life, such as his hatred of garlic and his love of hunting... wenches that is!

Sid James turns in a majestic performance as his highness and is given noble support by Kenneth Williams, Terry Scott and the rest of the regulars."
 

Review

Sid James (who else?) as the bawdy King Henry and the sublime double act of Kenneth Williams and Terry Scott.  Joan Sims and Babs adding some welcome glamour and doing all they can to make the men appear fools.  But somehow, despite all these delicious ingredients, Carry On Henry leaves a sour taste. 

Consider a story where the lead character spends most of his time trying to dispose of the female lead; where she gets pregnant by another man and then blackmails her cuckolded husband; where another character spends the bulk of the proceedings in a torture chamber undergoing untold ignominy.  All these things work against the gloriously scripted lines and the wonderful performances to produce a film which feels more than a little heartless and cynical.

Nevertheless, there are many elements of Carry On Henry that do stand out.  Eric Rogers’ score, based on the music of the time, is a delightfully sophisticated backdrop to a sumptuous visual feast.  The costumes and sets all look beautiful and as a period piece it’s hard to find fault. There are wonderful performances from the lead actors and the trusty Carry On rep - most notably Peter Gilmore, whose King of France is a joyously camp and menacing character.  All these things deserve praise.  But Carry On Henry is a film at odds with itself.  The lasting impression is one of cynicism and deceit and these do not a cosy comedy make.