This is a wonderfully bawdy celebration of legendary highwayman Dick Turpin, wallowing further in near-the-knuckle gags and sexually aware situations, perfectly suited for this historical salute.
This film reunites the battling antihero/quiet alter ego of Sid James and the snooty, official but villainous figure of Kenneth Williams as Captain Desmond Fancey, who is sent from London to catch ‘Big Dick’ (even though the only clue he has is that his quarry has a birthmark on his “diddler”).
Beginning with a finely directed sequence of Turpin riding across the countryside, the film is awash with memorable comic turns and dozens of classic one-liners.
Joining the nostril-flaring elegance of Williams on the law enforcing side is a marvellous lead role from Jack Douglas – finally tackling some major comic dialogue and playing brilliantly opposite the established series’ favourites – while Bernard Bresslaw blasts his top and loses his clothes as the chief of the Bow Street Runners in a flamboyant and quick-tempered performance.
The final major representative of the law enforcing agents is Kenneth Connor, in his smallest Carry On role as a dithering and ancient Bow Street Runner, equally interested in enjoying the sexual favours of the local lovelies as capturing the dreaded Turpin.
While Sid James is the perfect loveable Dick Turpin, disguising himself as the Reverend Flasher by day and hiding behind his black cloak and facemask at night, he never loses that full-of-lusty-innuendo laugh.
Sid’s highway gang also includes the bubbling and beautifully formed figure of Barbara Windsor, flashing her breast for the last time in the series. Peter Butterworth, muttering and mugging in a very minor role, grabbing a few prime opportunities to shine.
The final sequence is a brilliantly orchestrated confrontation between the endearingly crooked Sid and the self righteously pompous Williams, with James seemingly trapped by the steely-eyed Bresslaw, the bumbling, accident-prone Douglas and the crumbling Connor.
Eventually, Sid gets away with the myriad of good-natured crimes and jolly japes, but it’s the end of the trail for Sid as a guiding light and the feel-good Rothwellian joy of Carry On.
Packed with innuendo and ripe with double meanings, this is one of the best additions to the Carry On series.
Dick Turpin/Reverend Flasher
Capt Desmond Fancey
Sir Roger Daly
Tom ‘Doc’ Scholl
Sgt Jock Strapp