The first Carry On movie to be filmed in colour and the last written by Norman Hudis, Carry On Cruising is arguably the most charming in the series.
Set aboard the SS Happy Wanderer, it charts the course of Captain Crowther (Sid James) on his tenth-anniversary cruise of the Mediterranean, during which the members of his new crew – the doctor who has never sailed, the cook who can’t cook and the steward who doesn’t know how to mix a drink – seek to find their sea legs.
Initially, they perform their duties very badly, but when they discover their captain is due to be posted away, they pull out all the stops to persuade him to stay.
Kenneth Connor enjoys one of his best outings as the nervous ship’s doctor, Dr Arthur Binn, and Lance Percival has fun as the cook-it-and-see chef, Wilfred Haines.
Like the past Carry Ons, Cruising sees the smooth running of a national institution disrupted and destroyed by a mad collection of comic situations, misadventures and memorable characters – tirelessly cheerful Cyril Chamberlain; Jimmy Thompson’s sympathetic barman; Ronnie Stevens’ pathetic drunken traveller; Brian Rawlinson’s comic shyness; Liz Fraser, seductively resisting male temptation as Glad Trimble, and Esma Cannon as frenzied aged passenger Bridget Madderley who leaves the younger guests standing (her table tennis game with Kenneth Williams and her awesome drinking spree are the pick of some very funny moments).
Charles Hawtrey had no involvement this time around due to wanting a huge salary increase, whilst Joan Sims was resting after a long stage run.
Although set on a cruise liner sailing between Spain, Italy and North Africa, it was filmed at Pinewood Studios, so the cast didn’t get the chance to travel to any glamorous locations.
Dr Arthur Binn