This is a mixed-up collection of Carry On delights with a totally meaningless title for a totally plotless array of brief comic situations and familiar character players. As the title suggests, this film – the fifth in the popular Carry On franchise – is devoid of any real thematic focus, and wanders aimlessly but memorably through myriad scenarios in which anything can happen.
Bert Handy (Sid James) runs the Helping Hands Odd Job Agency, and he’s recruiting new staff. But the people he gets from the Employment Exchange are inexperienced, and end up confused and bewildered as they mix up their respective tasks, as do the people they are supposed to help.
Sam Twist (Kenneth Connor) bumbles around nervously as women make advances (including a particularly lush Fenella Fielding), Francis Courtenay (Kenneth Williams) stomps through the working-class masses with his nose in the air, Lily Duveen (Joan Sims) has the frumpy female gags thrown at her and ‘Gabi’ Dimple (Charles Hawtrey) minces about in the background with a constant smile and a wickedly sparkling glint in his eye.
Hattie Jacques was supposed to have one of the main parts in the film but due to ill health, some of her role was given to Joan Sims. Jacques was given a minor role as a sister. Liz Fraser joins the team in the first of her Carry On appearances as glamour girl Delia King.
The element of stability in the film is in the office sequences where boss Bert Handy and flustered assistant Miss Cooling (Esma Cannon) dish out the various oddball assignments and try and tie the whole into a seamless comedy of community and innuendo. Hugely welcome performers wander through the proceedings as the seven ‘Helping Hands’ eagerly try and complete their assignments.
All is fine and dandy in the end as the problems are resolved and the job of cleaning one of Stanley Unwin’s properties creates a whiz-bang, dust-covered, gloriously messy climax which ends the only way it can – with Kenneth W translating Unwin’s last words as “carry on regardless”.
Gabriel ‘Gabi’ Dimple