In Carry On Loving, the team take a definitive step towards sex comedy. Innuendo is jettisoned in favour of sexual freedom, loose morals and a general feeling that this is an entirely more grown-up and rather less family friendly Carry On film than we have ever seen before. Sex, or rather a tongue in cheek, boggle-eyed appreciation of it, had been one of the mainstays of the Carry On films since the early 1960s. During the more liberated late 60s and early 70s, it became inevitable that to move with the times the Carry Ons would have to become more overtly sexual.
With all that in mind, it’s a relief to see the result be every bit as charming, entertaining and genuinely hilarious as the best of the Carry Ons up to this point. Unlike later dalliances with more direct adult content, Carry On Loving never feels uncomfortably sexual. The film doesn’t shy away from the subject of sex, nor does it stray too far into adult territory. Loving is a Carry On masterpiece.
Sid and Hattie are the lynchpins around whom the film revolves as, invoking the spirit of the earlier Carry On that was set in the very same building, a series of set pieces are constructed around the loose scenario of the Wedded Bliss agency. It is Carry On Regardless for the free-love generation.
Richard O’Callaghan takes on the awkward romantic role and does so beautifully - his innocent gormlessness is delightful. Meanwhile, Kenneth Williams, Sid, Hattie and Charles are our links to the world of the Carry Ons we know so well. In a film where so much is new and out of the ordinary in terms of cast and tone, they anchor us to the fact that we are still basically on familiar territory.