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a right carry on

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carry on teacher 1958

rating

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cast
 

William Wakefield Ted Ray
Gregory Adams Kenneth Connor
Michael Bean Charles Hawtrey
Alistair Grigg Leslie Philips
Edwin Milton Kenneth Williams
Grace Short Hattie Jacques
Sarah Allcock Joan Sims
Felicity Wheeler Rosalind Knight
Alf Cyril Chamberlain
Robin Stevens Richard O'Sullivan
Billy Haig George Howell
Harry Bird Roy Hines
Penny Lee Diana Beevers
Pat Gordon Jacqueline Lewis
Sheila Dale Carol White
Atkins Paul Cole
Irene Jane White
Boy Larry Dann
   
Screenplay Norman Hudis
Producer Peter Rogers
Director Gerald Thomas

plot

During the present term at the Maudlin Street Secondary Modern School, William Wakefield, who has been at the school for 20 years - has been acting headmaster. He spots an advertisement for a headmaster of a brand new school very near where he was born and decides to apply for the post.

It's because of an impending visit by a ministry of Education Inspector, Miss Wheeler, and noted child psychiatrist Alistair Grigg; he decides to enlist the help of his staff to ensure that the school routine runs smoothly during their visit.

While in conference with his teaching staff, who include Gregory Adams, science master; Edwin Milton, English master; Michael Bean, music teacher; Sarah Allcock, gym mistress and Grace Short, maths teacher; a senior boy pupil overhears that Wakefield is planning to leave at the end of term. He immediately rushes this information to his colleagues who plan to sabotage every endeavour that might earn Wakefield praise, which would set him on the road to his new post.

On arrival, Grigg and Miss Wheeler are escorted by Wakefield on a tour of inspection and the pupils go out of their way to misbehave in each class they visit. However Griggs tour has not been in vain, he has taken a shine to Sarah Allcock, the gym mistress and it is obvious the feeling is mutual.

Miss Wheeler is disgusted at the behaviour of the children towards the teachers, but is softened when she visits the science master's class, where she feels an instinctive maternal affection for the charm of the nervous science master, Adams.

Wakefield feels now his position as headmaster of the new school is in jeopardy and on seeing Miss Wheeler’s interest in Adams, enlists his help. He asks Adams to make advances to Miss Wheeler to win her over. Adams is aghast at the very thought, but eventually agrees to do his best.

After many unsuccessful attempts to tell Miss Wheeler of his love, Adams finds an untruth has become truth and finally finds enough courage to declare his love.

The pupils meanwhile, have been doing everything in their power to make things go wrong, and on the last day of term are caught trying to sabotage the prize giving. They are told to report to Wakefield’s study and after much cross-examination he learns the reason for the weeks events - the pupils simply did not want to see him leave. Wakefield, very touched, tells the children he cannot leave and will see them all next term.

Miss Wheeler, softened by her newfound love, announces that she intends to tell the Ministry that staff/pupil relationships at the school are excellent.

review

Carry on St Trinnians? Like the famous girl school comedies that proceeded Carry on Teacher, the plot deals with unruly pupils and the teachers efforts to control them. Unfortunately this one has the dubious honour of being the weakest of the black and white outings, the story has a tendency to drag from time to time and some parts can be plain boring.

Norman Hudis, the writer on the first six in the series, always had a tendency to display a coy, cosy world in his screenplays, none more so than here. The film portrays a very quaint view of the British school system. The pupils actually really LIKE the teachers? What stuff of nonsense is this?! Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just at times you could really do with a Sid cackle or some Kenneth mincing. Here Kenneth is still acting rather than taking his mannerisms up to full throttle.

Mind you, they did squeeze in the line "Are you satisfied with your equipment, Miss Allcock?", which demands some degree of respect, considering this was still the 1950's. There's also the moment when Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Williams inadvertently kiss each other on the cheeks......then Charles slaps him on the face. That moment alone hoists the film up from a three star to a four star, cos it's so bloody funny! Another highlight is when the school stage Shakespeare and the look of embarrassment on Ted Rays face as he sinks lower and lower into his chair due to the sheer ineptitude of the pupils.

In his only Carry On film, Ted Ray does a good job of playing the stressed headmaster and he seems to fit in well with the team with neither overshadowing each other. Alas, it was never meant to be with Ted Ray (see below), but we can't help thinking how different the series would have been if Sid had never been employed to fill Ray's shoes in the next film.

Overall it's enjoyable enough, though certainly not the best example of Carry On humour. It has its moments though, but they can be few and far between. Then again, the girlfriend loves it, so what do I know?

other information

Ted Ray was under contract to Associated British (ABC), but wasn't used by them. So they weren't happy when he turned up in another distributors film, especially one as successful as Carry On Teacher. Due to the possibility of the film not getting a release on the ABC cinema circuit, Ted Ray was quietly dropped.

Look out for the young Richard O'Sullivan and Larry Dann. O'Sullivan would go on to star in numerous Thames Television comedies such as Man About The House, whilst Dann would crop up again in Behind, England and Emmannuelle.

The outdoor locations were filmed at Drayton Secondary School in West Ealing.

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