Professor Inigo Tinkle (Frankie Howerd) leads an expedition into darkest Africa in search of the rare Oozlum Bird (rare because it keeps disappearing up its own ****). He is joined in his search by fellow twitcher Claude Chumley (Kenneth Connor) and the Great White Tin Opener, Bill Boosey (Sid James). Also joining the expedition are Lady Evelyn Bagley (Joan Sims), searching for her son who went missing in the jungle as a baby, and her maid June (Jacki Piper).
Tinkle’s expedition is hindered by a troublesome gorilla and the incompetent Jungle Boy (Terry Scott), who has taken a shine to June. Fleeing the cannibalistic Nosha tribe, the intrepid explorers are ensnared by the glamorous Lubidubis. Lady Evelyn is stunned to discover that their leader, Tonka (Charles Hawtrey), is none other than her estranged husband. However, there is an even bigger surprise for the men as they are forced to become sex slaves for the Lubidubis.
A Peter Rogers Production Directed by Gerald Thomas
Screenplay: Talbot Rothwell
Music: Eric Rogers
Certificate A/PG 89 minutes
Professor Inigo Tinkle
Lady Evelyn Bagley
"The Carry On team go ape crazy in darkest Africa. Carry On Up The Jungle is definitely one of the wildest of all the Carry On films.
Primitive passions are unleashed when a bird fancying expedition lands upon a forgotten tribe of gorgeous females who are desperate to find mates and thus save themselves from extinction.
All your favourites are here including Frankie Howerd as Professor Inigo Tinkle and Sid James as fearless Bill Boosey."
Frankie Howerd’s Carry On appearances are all too infrequent but, as always, he lifts the entire team. Sid is on rare form too; his gnarled and world-weary Boozey is a joy. Joan Sims plays a desperate fading beauty and I suggest you treasure her appearance, because in the films to come she rarely gets to play such a sparkling, well rounded character. Jungle also sees the welcome return of Kenneth Connor although, because the Carry On team dynamic changed during his six year absence, he no longer appears to own a distinctive persona.
Once again, the film runs out of steam towards the end as the explorers meet up with the Lubidubis. By this point, the script is running on empty and one can’t help but think that the film would have done just as well without such a protracted sequence. But it does give us a chance to see Hawtrey as a Love-God, so it’s not all bad. Somewhat more alarmingly especially for those of us of a more delicate sensibility, Carry On up the Jungle is the first film to really enter the realms of proper adult humour. The very idea of our heroes being held as sex slaves sets a precedent on which the films to come would build throughout the 1970s.
Nevertheless, despite the shortcomings of the later scenes, Up the Jungle remains a true classic among the Carry Ons.