A top-secret formula is stolen from a maximum security lab by the infamous spy Milchmann (Victor Maddern). Realising that he must be working for the evil Dr Crow’s (Judith Furse) STENCH organisation, the British Operational Security Headquarters (BOSH) reluctantly send for the only agent available, the accident-prone Desmond Simpkins (Kenneth Williams).
Simpkins assembles his team - Charlie Bind (Charles Hawtrey), Harold Crump (Bernard Cribbins) and Daphne Honeybutt (Barbara Windsor), a group of fresh recruits with no field training. Simpkins leads his fellow spies in pursuit of Milchmann to recapture the secret formula and thwart Dr Crow’s nefarious plot. The team liaise with top agent Carstairs (Jim Dale) in Vienna, who sends them to Algeria before locating Dr Crow’s secret base which, after all that Carrying On, turns out to be underneath BOSH’s own headquarters.
A Peter Rogers Production Directed by Gerald Thomas
1964 Black & White
Screenplay: Talbot Rothwell & Sid Colin
Music: Eric Rogers
On favourite Barbara Windsor makes her debut in this outrageous send-up of
the James Bond movies. Fearless agents Desmond Simpkins (Kenneth Williams)
and James Bind (Charles Hawtrey), aided and abetted by the comely Agent
Honeybutt (Barbara Windsor) and Agent Crump (Bernard Cribbins), battle
against the evil powers of international bad guys STENCH and their three
cronies, Dr Crow, Milchmann and the Fat Man. From the heat of the Casbah to
the elegance of the Orient Express, the Carry On team pursue STENCH to the
From the promotional artwork through to the characters and story, Carry On Spying is of course a spoof of the James Bond films which, at the time of release, were breaking new ground in popular cinema. With a direct target for Spying to ape, by necessity there is a strong focus on the plot and moving the story forward but like Carry On Jack before it, plot often comes at the expense of comedy. In many ways Carry On Spying is more Bond than Carry On.
The most important criteria for any Carry On film is whether it is funny and Spying certainly raises plenty of laughs. There’s not much in the way of a chuckle in terms of the story unless hermaphrodite evil genii tickle your fancy, but the main cast work brilliantly. Kenneth Williams falls back on his Snide character rather more than usual; a character of whom I am not particularly fond but it’s easy to see from Babs’ first Carry On appearance why the team were so keen to sign her up for more.
Throw in another top class performance from Bernard Cribbins and the ever-wonderful Charles Hawtrey and you have a team of idiots who blunder their way through the greatest criminal plot in history, defeating the bad guys through a combination of sheer luck and Kenneth’s irresistible sex appeal. Sadly, the film runs out of steam when the gang reach the STENCH lair and from this point it becomes a simple knockabout farce, complete with speeded up visuals and comedy soundtrack.
Carry On Spying is a great showcase for the Carry On team but the film as a whole is more than a little unsatisfactory. There is tremendous scope for comedy but it’s not milked (or even milched) as much as it could be.
An obvious parody of the James
Bond series, this Carry On excels on every level. As a Bond spoof, there's
plenty of espionage and intrigue; as a Carry On, many of our favourites are
in it, and the script really shines. Certainly one of the finer films in the
series, it is made all the more memorable by the first appearance of Barbara