The British position in India has never been more uncomfortable. The Khasi of Kalabar’s (Kenneth Williams) plan to overthrow the Colonialists is given an unexpected boost when local chief, Bunghit Din (Bernard Bresslaw) discovers that the British troops, the feared “Devils in Skirts” have taken to covering up their modesty and perhaps aren’t quite so fearsome after all.
Sir Sidney’s (Sid James) neglected wife, Lady Joan (Joan Sims), falls into the arms of the Khasi and gives him the proof he needs to spur the local chiefs into rising up against their Imperial overlords.
A Peter Rogers Production Directed by Gerald Thomas
Screenplay: Talbot Rothwell
Music: Eric Rogers
The Khasi of
Sergeant Major McNutt
"British India, 1895. The Burpas are revolting but then again "The Devils in Skirts" who guard the Khyber Pass are none too charming either.
Can Sid James as Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond prevent the scheming Khasi of Kalabar (Kenneth Williams) from starting a full scale rebellion, massacring thousands of innocent people, ending British Rule and making his cushy job obsolete? Can he prevent the secret concerning the 3rd Foot and Mouth Regiment from becoming common knowledge among the natives?
Join the Carry On team in this tale of passion, greed and missing underpants, set in the raging days of the Raj."
Carry On up the Khyber represents a new direction for the Carry Ons. A relatively sophisticated (and certainly adult in content) story with real historical significance is given a unique Carry On twist. The result is flawless. The story is beautifully constructed and the trappings so uniquely Carry On; the fate of an empire resting on a glimpse of a private’s privates. Roy Castle’s Captain Keene and Cardew Robinson’s Fakir fit seamlessly into the team as if they have been there for years and it is a shame we never got to see more of them. There is not a single piece of Carry On up the Khyber that is less than comedy perfection.
The conflict that underlies the film is deftly managed and milked mercilessly for laughs but, unlike other films with a similar bitter conflict at their heart (particularly Camel, Henry and England); it does not sour the film in any way. Sir Sidney, the Khasi and Bunghit Din are all immensely likeable characters so our loyalties aren’t important – it is easy just sit back and enjoy the film.
The story of the Carry Ons is often told as a slow decline into mediocrity but the truth is that over 31 films, there is a remarkable consistency in quality. With that said, few come close to the giddy heights of Carry On up the Khyber.