Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Carry On Matron (1972)

Carry On Matron (1972)

The fourth Carry On with a hospital background, and the 23rd in the series, concerns a plot by petty criminals Sid Carter (Sid James), his son Cyril (Kenneth Cope) and their pals Ernie (Bernard Bresslaw) and Freddie (Bill Maynard) to rob the local maternity hospital of contraceptive pills and sell them abroad.

For Sid’s gang to gain entry to the hospital (where the wards are called Bunn and Oven), Cyril has to drag up and pose as a student nurse – who unfortunately attracts the attention of the sex-mad groping gynaecologist Dr Prodd (Terry Scott).

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Having bluffed his way past Frances (Gwendolyn Watts) on reception, Cyril bumps into sexy nurse Susan Ball (Barbara Windsor) who discovers his true identity, tosses in a tongue-in-cheek reference about being a ‘gangster’s moll’ and evokes a priceless shocked expression from Sid as the two ‘nurses’ are caught in a passionate embrace.

Taking on elements from The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), Too Many Crooks (1959) and a score of second feature British crime thrillers, Sid James strolls effortlessly through his part, with the merest of raised eyebrows and chuckling comment enough to get his belly laughs.

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The scenes of the gang’s robbery plans are juxtaposed with various flights of fancy with the three principal authority figures at Finesham hospital: Hattie Jacques as the endearingly cynical Matron, Kenneth Williams as the overtly eye-popping, hypochondriac surgeon Sir Bernard Cutting, and Charles Hawtrey as the absent-minded psychiatrist, Dr Francis Goode.

This trio of Carry On legends simply camp around the hospital, mugging wonderfully to lesser characters and the camera, and have a whale of a time with the ancient comic dialogue.

carryonmatron7The patients in this film are even less important than in Carry On Again Doctor (1969). Although several expectant mums arrive and have their babies (notably Valerie Leon and Madeline Smith), they are simply the source of a quick one-liner or just a plot device.

Only one genuine expectant mother is given any sort of screen time and that’s ever-eating, ever-complaining Mrs Tidey (Joan Sims), who spends the film lying in bed, devouring sausages and tomatoes and faking birth pangs to avoid induced labour.

It’s a fairly minor supporting turn but delivered beautifully, with belittled railway worker Kenneth Connor the ultimate in anxious expectant husbands.

The bumbling gang of crooks muff the operation but avoid the long arm of the law, Cyril and Susan get together and the on-off romantic relationship between Sir Bernard and Matron finally ends in wedding bells.

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Sid Carter
Sidney James
Sir Bernard Cutting 

Kenneth Williams
Matron 

Hattie Jacques
Dr Francis A Goode 

Charles Hawtrey
Nurse Susan Ball 

Barbara Windsor
Dr Prodd 

Terry Scott
Mrs Tidey 

Joan Sims
Cyril Carter

Kenneth Cope
Ernie Bragg

Bernard Bresslaw
Mr Tidey 

Kenneth Connor
Freddie 

Bill Maynard
Evelyn 

Patsy Rowlands
Arthur
Derek Francis
Mrs Jenkins
Amelia Bayntun
Jane Darling
Valerie Leon
Ambulance Driver
Brian Osborne
Frances Kemp
Gwendolyn Watts
Miss Smethurst
Valerie Shute
Mrs Tucker
Margaret Nolan
Pearson
Michael Nightingale
Miss Willing
Wendy Richard
Au Pair Girl
Zena Clifton
Reporter
Bill Kenwright
Mr Darling
Robin Hunter
Twitching Father
Jack Douglas
Mrs Pullitt
Madeline Smith

Director 
Gerald Thomas

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