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"What's with all that jigging in the rigging?"
Captain Fearless
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Carry On Jack is a 1963 Carry On movie that features one of the most obscure cast sets in the series. Although regulars Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey are present, the rest of the main roles are portrayed by Bernard Cribbins, Juliet Mills, Donald Houston and Cecil Parker; all of these performers except Cribbins appeared only once in the entire franchise (and Cribbins only appeared twice more, in Carry On Spying and nearly thirty years later in Carry On Columbus).

This movie is set in the years post-Battle of Trafalgar, where Horatio Nelson was killed. On his deathbed, he demands to have a bigger navywith better naval ships, right before he says his Famous Last Words of "kiss me" to Hardy. With the Royal Navy being rather successful in many naval wars many years later, and managing to get into a war with the French and the Spaniards, a keen mild-mannered sailor named Albert Poop-Decker (Cribbins) is promoted in the navy to midshipman by the First Sea Lord (Parker), despite his lack of experience and his time training unsuccessfully for over 8½ years.

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Assigned to board the ship Venus in the morning, Albert stays in a seaside inn where he is mugged for his clothes by the beautiful inn employee Sally (Mills), who intends to find her long-lost childhood crush Roger (the Carry On regular Peter Gilmore) on one of the maiden voyages. Then the grumpy Lieutenant Howett (Houston) and his gang of press-gangers shanghai Albert and a clueless cesspit cleaner named Walter Sweetly (Hawtrey) onto the ship Venus, which is led by the blithering Captain Fearless (Williams).

With no proof of being assigned onto the ship, and the disguised Sally using her witty tactics to stay undercover, Albert and Walter experience the hardships of being a part of the British Royal Navy.

Hilarity Ensues.


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Tropes Included:

  • Actual Pacifist: Although being a powerful leader of a naval ship, Fearless doesn't want to cause any trouble with the enemy, and appears to be reluctant at times to be at war with parts of Europe.
    CPT Fearless: We don't want to cause any tension with the French, now we're at war with them and the Spanish.
  • Adorkable: Albert over the fact that it takes him over five years to train to be in the navy, and he still fails. He also fails to see through Sally's flirtatious double entendres until seconds before she knocks him out.
  • Affectionate Parody: This movie was made because the movies Mutiny on the Bounty and other 18th century naval films had been released a few years before.
  • Afraid of Blood: Not necessarily blood, but when Fearless is informed that the unconscious people on his ship are supposedly dead during the fake mutiny, he shrieks in terror. He also faints when Albert gives him the head of a mannequin.
  • Agony of the Feet: Fearless spends most of the movie with a splinter in his toe.
  • All Cloth Unravels: During Albert's punishment, the man in charge of beating him pulls at a thread on the vest, leading to him getting tangled in Albert's vest threads. The rest of the crew are crying with laughter.
  • All Men Are Perverts: The sailors on Roger's ship, who get excited when Sally loses her disguise.
  • Armed Farces: True to form for the Carry On films, the Royal Navy of Carry On Jack is filled with all sorts of bungling fools, cowards, and ne'er-do-wells — a captain who is perpetually seasick and thus shies away from any sort of fighting, a midshipman who has taken eight-or-so years just to get to the lowest rung on the officer ladder, and a press gang victim who couldn't handle himself in a rowboat on a pond, never mind a frigate in the Royal Navy.
  • Ascended Extra: Kenneth Cope makes a background appearance in this film. He later appears in At Your Convenience and Carry On Matron as main characters.
  • Ash Face: Some of the crew get this when a failed cannon blows up because the end gets bunged up.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Mr Angel doesn't show any reaction or hesitation over agreeing to Howett's crazy ideas and just goes along with regardless.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Howett, for definite. He only wants to get Fearless out of the way so that he could fight the Spanish Armada and hopefully win the war, and doesn't hesitate to try and make the Spanish government surrender at gunpoint.
    • The crew on the Venus, who become very excited when they find out that Howett is captain after the night before's fake mutiny.
  • Boarding Party: Roger's crew swing onto the Venus (due to Fearless' ignorance and naivety) and sink their boat soon after.
  • The Cameo
    • A rather hairy Jim Dale as a people carrier that takes Albert to the sea town.
    • Cecil Parker manages to get And Starring credits, even though he only appears in the movie's Book-Ends and has a few lines.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the Training Montage, Walter and Albert are taught how to sew under the bellowing eye of Mr Angel. This comes in handy when the gang have to amputate CPT Fearless' infected foot.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Walter, as usual for Charles Hawtrey's characters in the Carry On films.
    Lieutenant J Howett: How would you like to go out to sea, friend?
    Walter Sweetly: How would I like to go out to see what?
  • Cutlass Between the Teeth: Some of the British sailors when they get out of the lifeboats and climb a Spanish cliff to the mainland.
  • Different for Girls: Albert tries to get Sally to get out of her disguise by claiming that he has a mole on his penis, but Sally manages to dismiss this claim and keep her disguise by claiming that she had no mole there. Captain Fearless and Lieutenant Howett are stupid enough to not investigate further into the accusation.
  • Disguised in Drag: Sally for definite.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Howett's failed ambush of the Spanish government lands him and the entire crew in the capital's prison. When the prison guards and the Spanish leader visit them, the British attack them and leave in their outfits. Strangely, they are seen working for the enemy a few days later, questioning whether they actually got away with what they did, or whether they were captured soon after.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Howett, probably taking after the angry CPT Potts from Carry On, Sergeant.
  • Ethical Slut: In a way with Sally, who teases Albert into having a night of passion in order to steal his clothes.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Howett wants to get rid of Fearless for good, but he chooses to act out a mutiny instead of sneaking into Fearless' room when he's asleep and killing him.
  • Faking the Dead: The mutiny is just a lot of sailors lying around, pretending to be dead.
  • Famous Last Words: Admiral Nelson demanding a bigger navy with bigger ships and more men.
  • Foreshadowing: In his confused state, Fearless tells the group that he never wanted to be a sailor and was desperate to retire and get a job in an office. Guess what he the First Sea Lord gives promotes him to in the last scene?
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: After Fearless' departure, the entire crew cheers with delight. Turns out it was not only Howett that didn't like the captain.
  • Genre Blindness:
    • After telling Sally that he's a sailor, Albert isn't suspicious that she immediately invites him into one of the inn rooms, even though she looked like was inches away from throwing him out.
    • Not once is Fearless suspicious that a lone boat is floating around the ocean with no sign of British sailors on board, and immediately thinks that it's the boat of an ally. The rest of the crew aren't convinced, but follow his orders anyway.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Most of the dialogue. It wouldn't be Carry On without a large dose of this.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Albert. The moment he turns up in the inn, all of the maids that were flirting with the customers rush over to him, trying to get his attention, terrifying him.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Sally has blonde hair and, although she steals Albert's clothes and takes his place on the Venus as a midshipman, is only doing so because she's trying to track down her boyfriend, who was press-ganged into the Navy some time earlier; she is otherwise kind-hearted and does feel guilty about tricking Albert. When she discovers her boyfriend has become a pirate captain, she breaks up with him in favour of Albert.
  • Hates Baths: Bizarrely, the entire crew of the Venus — the bizarre thing being a Kenneth Williams character hating bathing, considering how his characters usually want to be proper and sophisticated.
    • When Sally wants to wash, she is mocked mercilessly by everyone on the ship, who purposely make a bath out of a barrel and position it in full view of everyone on the main deck.
    • Also, when noticing a group of Europeans stripping at a beach to skinny-dip, Fearless expresses his disgust over the idea of stripping off and bathing.
  • Hello, Sailor!: Subverted. All the sailors on the boats are portrayed as horny homesick virgins whose eyes light up whenever a woman comes into view. Funnily enough, Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Williams are portrayed as asexual-like kinds.
    • Although, it is sort of implied that there are probably gay soldiers that Fearless is aware about. When catching Albert and the disguised Sally kissing, and then hearing that they've agreed to get married, he doesn't react really outrageously and is more confused than appalled.
  • Hook Hand: Roger's first mate.
  • Ironic Name: Captain Fearless is anything but. Not only does he suffer from chronic seasickness, but he makes any excuse he can think of to avoid actually going into combat, to the mounting frustration of his crew, who eventually mutiny against him. The trailer claims that he can "get seasick sitting on a damp sponge".
  • Lady Killer:
    • The leader of Spain with his implied mistress. Note how flustered he acts when Howett and Mr Angel storm in the room. It's probably not over the intrusion.
    • Walter Sweetly states that he's got nine children when he ends up shanghaied, which might've been guilt tripping Howett and the rest of the sailing staff, but either implied this trope or something else...
  • Last-Name Basis
    • Fearless' first name isn't revealed to the characters.
    • Mr Angel's first name isn't revealed either. Possibly out of respect, even his partner Howett doesn't call him by his first name.
  • Last Request
    • Admiral Nelson on his deathbed.
    • Before getting lashed to death, Albert asks whether he can keep his vest on.
    • When about to walk the plank, Walter asks for a demonstration... With Hilarious Results.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Albert is caught by Fearless and Walter locking lips with the disguised Sally and is greeted by shocked looks when he announces that they're engaged.
    CPT Fearless: I said I wanted a happy ship, but this is ridiculous!
  • Mugged for Disguise: Albert, when his clothes are stolen by Sally.
  • The Mutiny: Fed up with CPT Fearless' passive attitude to naval duties, Howett and a couple of sailors organise a mutiny that will make the Captain jump ship and leave them in charge. It works like a treat, giving the sailors time to invade Spain and force the government to surrender.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: In a way with Albert, who definitely hikes up to the Adorkable factor along with his sailing knowledge. When Sally locks the door suggestively, he says this:
    Albert Poop-Decker: My mother told me that things like this would happen. I must write and thank her.
  • Never My Fault: In true Kenneth Williams character fashion, when the Ragtag Misfits team realise that Fearless had been reading the map of Europe wrong, he strongly denies that he has and claims that the map's wrong.
  • One of the Boys: Sally, in a way.
  • Only One Name: Sally and Roger.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: How the men don't see through Sally's disguise as Albert is baffling, considering how she doesn't attempt to put on a gruff voice and has obvious feminine features (CPT Fearless comments on the size of "his" chest a lot and is convinced that "he" didn't need to pad out the bust when "he" slips on a dress as another disguise in France). Notably, when she, Albert, Fearless and Walter are stranded in a rowing boat for a least a week, she stays with a smooth chin whereas everyone else has stubble going-on light beards. This possibly links to the fact that midshipmen in the British Navy were young teenage boys, so she could easily pass for a bishonen.
  • Perma-Shave: Many of the sailors, but to be fair, they're probably assigned with razors that they can choose to use.
    • invoked There is a subversion of this: after escaping the mutiny, Albert, Walter, Fearless and Sally are stranded for days on a tiny raft, to the point that the men on the raft have light stubble. The moment they find land, however, they're as clean-shaven as they were when they left.
    • At the same time as the point above, Howett and the crew are jailed for days in the Spanish government's top security prison with no implication of being released to use the toilet or eat. It's unlikely that they took toiletries when they left Venus.
  • Pirate: Roger's gang, who don't talk like pirates.
  • Press-Ganged: Albert and Walter are press-ganged onto the ship.
  • Quirky Curls: When flirting with Albert, Sally points out his curly hair, to which he replies that he got it from his mother.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: During the fake mutiny on the Venus, an unintentional one forms between the cross-dressing Sally, the wimpy Fearless, the absent-minded Walter and the shy Only Sane Man Albert.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn
    • Roger and his gang of pirates don't exactly do all of these things, but they invade the Venus, capture the sailors on it and sink their ship because they "don't need it now", and look really excited once Sally's discovered as an impostor; Roger immediately tries to force himself upon her when she reminds him of where they last met.
    • CPT Fearless' sailors, in a way, unbeknownst to him. When they run him off the ship, they immediately head to Spain to scare the Spaniards into surrendering to the British. Notably, when Mr Angel is ordered to carry the Spanish governor's mistress out of the room by Howett, this exchange happens:
      Mr Angel: What do you want me to do with her after that?
      Lieutenant J Howett: [clearly losing his temper] Mr Angel, how long have you been at sea?
      Mr Angel: About 15 years.
      Lieutenant J Howett: Well, don't ask stupid questions!
  • Recursive Crossdressing: Sally, in disguise as Alfred, disguises as a woman in France so no one there would link her to the Royal Navy.
  • Rule of Three
    • Sally shanghaiing Albert. First time is to mug him of his clothes, the other two times is by accident.
    • Also, the Last Request trope.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Fearless, to add to his wimpy factor.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Albert does this to Fearless' bedroom door during Howett's fake mutiny when he fears for the captain's safety. This wakes Fearless (and Sally from her room down the corridor) up, makes him fall out of bed, and end up with a splinter in his toe.
  • Shout-Out: The page quote and the name of the ship being Venus are references to an old Bawdy Song called "Good Ship Venus (Friggin' in the Riggin')". In the movie's official trailer, a voiceover by Fearless says, "But, on the good ship Venusmy word, you should've seen us!"
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Captain Fearless. Common with Kenneth Williams' characters.
  • The Stoic: Mr Angel.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Averted, because Albert doesn't gain feelings for Sally until she comes out of her disguise.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Albert suffers from this punishment for supposed fraud towards Sally (in disguise as him).
  • Thanatos Gambit: Admiral Nelson, trying to make the Navy the best in the world by demanding more men and ships.
  • Those Two Guys: Mr Angel and Lieutenant Howett.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Albert and Walter, when Sally surrenders to Roger's threats. Walter catapults Albert away from the crowd without considering the consequences, and Albert gains the strength to climb up to the crow's nest and fight off most of Roger's crew.
  • Training Montage: Walter and Albert have one, complete with almost blowing themselves up, being clumsy, throwing themselves into the sea and struggling to climb rigging.
  • Unplanned Crossdressing: Albert finds himself in Sally's nightgown when he wakes up in his hotel room and on the Venus.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: The failure to remove a splinter in Fearless' foot after weeks of the incident happening leads to him getting a horrible spread of a gangrene-like infection up his leg, leaving him unconscious from the illness. When he wakes up just as the group are preparing to amputate his leg, he moans in a high-pitched voice about missing his parents and being terrified of a rocking horse.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: All the victims of the shanghai incidents.
  • Walk the Plank: Roger's punishment for Albert, Fearless and Walter. In classic Carry On style, slapstick ensues.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: The film is set in the British Navy during the Napoleonic wars, although it centres on the three men (and one woman) with the least iron of the lot.

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