Carry On Cleo

Carry On Cleo ★★★½

I needed a good laugh this week.

2020 has barely began and plenty of events have occurred which would make a variety of people feel despondent, whether it be cheating scandals in baseball, the wildfires in Australia, earthquakes in Puerto Rico, political strife, etc. Me, there's also someone I know not feeling 100%; after a doctor's appointment it was something relatively minor that should be fixed with a prescription, but before that it caused some consternation. I know people who have dealt with worse as of late (such as them needing emergency surgery in the hospital) so I am glad this individual's health issue is not a big deal in comparison. Henceforth, viewing a comedy from the past seemed like a good idea, even if it's a spoof of a movie I hadn't viewed before... 1963's Cleopatra is 4 hours long, after all. I know of its torturous production history & I am sure it's more interesting than the actual movie.

Thankfully Carry On Cleo is funny on its own. I'll presume most are familiar enough with Cleopatra, Mark Antony and Julius Caesar to where they know how they are all connected to each other... the film is all about those three, and in particular how Cleo wants Antony to be her lover, but not before he kills Caesar. The movie is not historically accurate: aside from the foolishness of Sid James as Antony, Kenneth Williams as Caesar and Charles Hawtrey as Seneca, the British at the time are portrayed as still living in the Stone Age as cavemen. Kenneth Connor and Jim Dale are two Brits who are captured and taken to Rome. It was nice seeing the usual faces in this franchise as they are all entertaining folks, and Doctor Who fans will like that for one scene, Jon Pertwee appears.

The humor is exactly what you'd expect (although a homophobic word being uttered was quite the surprise to me): bawdy humor, puns, wordplay, some slapstick, absurd situations, etc. For me, all except the homophobic humor provided plenty of humor and helped brighten my mood. Production-wise, it was a big asset for this film that they were able to use the sets and costumes from 1963's Cleopatra; it was a big asset in helping the viewer believe they were in the ancient times. Mix in brief flurries of action that were fun & a fast pace... I see why many fans consider this one of the better entries in the entire series.

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