The Making of 'Mary Poppins
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“You cannot capture a man’s entire life in two hours. All you can hope is to leave the impression of one”.
Cor, Blimey! (2000)
“You’re mistaking the man for the screen persona” Sid James informs Barbara Windsor in this tale of their affair. It’s an easy mistake to make. Not only did the characters of their films often take the actor's names, but according to this biopic, their personalities were virtually indistinguishable from the characters they portrayed. With one notable exception. Whereas the Sid of the Carry On films had an endearing cheekiness to his lechery, this Sid just comes across as a dirty old man.
The biopic gets off to a great start, with opening credits that could easily accompany any Carry On film. As a dresser walks past portraits of Sid James and Kenneth Williams on her first day at work, they dissolve into the actors portraying them. Things take an unpleasant turn once she reports to Sid and is immediately hit upon. What may have been fun in the fictional setting of the Carry On films, or even in this story's original stage setting, becomes decidedly uncomfortable viewing when presented as a biopic. This becomes more apparent with the arrival of Barbara Windsor, who served as the film’s consultant and appears in a cameo as herself.
It’s a pity, for the actors portraying the Carry On crew are uniformly excellent, and the biopic captures a lot of their film’s humour. But just as the series found towards the end of its run, it’s fatal once the 'nudge-nudge wink-wink' style of comedy stops being funny and instead becomes vulgar.
as Sid James
as Barbara Windsor
as Kenneth Williams
as Charles Hawtrey
When Barbara Windsor visits Sid James in hospital he shows her a newspaper saying Tony Hancock has committed suicide. Sid James suffered his near-fatal heart attack on 13 May 1967. According to Cliff Goodwin’s biography, he was back at work by October. Tony Hancock died on 24 June 1968. (According to the same biography, Tony Hancock contacted James’ wife while Sid was recovering in hospital),
Kenneth Williams and Barbara Windsor were not together when they learned of Sid James' death.
Bernard Bresslaw did not appear in either Carry On Spying or Carry On Henry.
Biopic features several scene recreations from the Carry On series, including Carry On Cleo (01:19), Carry On Camping (01:45), Carry On Henry (01:57) and Carry On Dick (02:18).