Follow That Camel
|Follow That Camel|
Original UK quad poster
|Directed by||Gerald Thomas|
|Produced by||Peter Rogers|
|Written by||Talbot Rothwell|
|Music by||Eric Rogers|
|Edited by||Alfred Roome|
|Distributed by||Rank Organisation|
Follow That Camel is the fourteenth in the series of Carry On films to be made, released in 1967. Like its predecessor Don't Lose Your Head, it does not have the words "Carry On" in its original title (although for screenings outside the United Kingdom it was known as Carry On In The Legion, and is alternatively titled Carry On ... Follow That Camel). It parodies the much-filmed 1924 book Beau Geste, by P. C. Wren, and other French Foreign Legion films. This film was producer Peter Rogers's attempt to break into the American market; Phil Silvers (in his only Carry On) is heavily featured in a Sergeant Bilko-esque role. He appears alongside Carry On regulars Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Peter Butterworth and Bernard Bresslaw. Angela Douglas makes the third of her four Carry On appearances. Anita Harris makes the first of her two Carry On appearances.
His reputation brought into disrepute by Captain Bagshaw, a competitor for the affections of Lady Jane Ponsonby, Bertram Oliphant West a.k.a. "Bo" decides to leave England and join the French Foreign Legion, followed by his faithful manservant Simpson. Originally mistaken for enemy combatants at Sidi Bel Abbès, the pair eventually enlist and are helped in surviving Legion life by Sergeant Knocker, although only after they discover that when he is "on patrol" he is actually enjoying himself at the local cafe with the female owner, ZigZig.
Meanwhile Lady Jane, having learnt that Bo was really innocent, heads out to the Sahara to bring him back to England. Along the way she has several encounters with men who exploit the fact that she is naive and travelling alone. After several such run-ins, including with the Legion fort's Commandant Burger (who incidentally once was her fencing teacher and joined the Legion in self-imposed shame after he had inadvertently cut her finger during a lesson), she meets Sheikh Abdul Abulbul and ends up becoming a part of his harem and planned 13th wife.
Knocker and Bo are kidnapped by Abulbul after being lured to the home of Cork Tip, a belly dancer at the Café ZigZig. Simpson follows them to the Oasis El Nooki but is also captured. After entering Abulbul’s harem and discovering Lady Jane, Bo and Simpson give themselves up while Knocker escapes (or rather is allowed to by Abulbul) back to Sidi Bel Abbes to warn Commandant Burger of Abulbul’s plans to attack Fort Zuassantneuf.
However during this time ZigZig has told the Commandant about Knocker's true destination when on patrol and therefore upon his return his story is not believed. It is only when Knocker mentions Lady Jane that they realise he was telling the truth and the Commandant organises a force to reinforce the fort.
Along the way they discover Bo and Simpson staked to the ground at the now abandoned oasis. The relief column marches on towards the fort but heat, lack of water and a sand castle building competition gone wrong decimates the force to a handful. The remaining members reach the fort to find that they are too late; the attack has already occurred and the garrison wiped out.
After learning that Abulbul's celebration of the successful attack includes marrying Lady Jane, Bo, Burger, Knocker and Simpson rescue her from his tent, leaving Simpson behind dressed as a decoy. When Abulbul discovers the deception, he chases Simpson back to the fort where, through the imaginative use of a gramophone and a German marching song, gum arabic, coconuts, gunpowder and a cricket bat, the group holds off Abulbul’s army until a relief force arrives. However, Commandant Burger ends up as a (and the sole) casualty among the protagonists.
Back in England the group reunites for a game of cricket, with Knocker having been promoted to Commandant and Lady Jane having conceived a son by the late Burger. Bo is batting, but when he hits the ball, it explodes. The bowler is then shown to be Abulbul having gained his revenge, to which Bo, with a broken bat and burnt clothes, good-naturedly responds "Not out!"
Location work was shot during the early months of 1967 when scenes set in the Saharan Desert were filmed at Camber Sands near Rye, East Sussex, England. Shooting had to be halted several times because there was snow on the sands.
Some of the elaborate town sets were reused the year after in the production of Carry On... Up the Khyber.
- Phil Silvers as Sergeant Ernie Knocker
- Jim Dale as Bertram Oliphant "Bo" West
- Peter Butterworth as Simpson
- Kenneth Williams as Commandant Burger
- Charles Hawtrey as Captain Le Pice
- Joan Sims as Zig-Zig
- Angela Douglas as Lady Jane Ponsonby
- Bernard Bresslaw as Sheikh Abdul Abulbul
- Anita Harris as Corktip
- John Bluthal as Corporal Clotski
- Peter Gilmore as Captain Bagshaw
- William Mervyn as Sir Cyril Ponsonby
- Julian Holloway as Ticket collector
- David Glover as Hotel manager
- Larry Taylor as Riff
- William Hurndell as Riff
- Julian Orchard as Doctor
- Vincent Ball as Ship's officer
- Peter Jesson as Lawrence (uncredited)
- Gertan Klauber as Spiv (uncredited)
- Michael Nightingale as Nightingale (uncredited)
- Richard Montez as Riff (uncredited)
- Frank Singuineau as Riff (uncredited)
- Simon Cain as Riff (uncredited)
- Harold Kasket as Hotel gentleman (uncredited)
- Edmund Pegge as Bowler (uncredited)
- Carol Sloane as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Gina Gianelli as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Dominique Don as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Anne Scott as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Patsy Snell as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Zorenah Osborne as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Margot Maxine as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Sally Douglas as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Angie Grant as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Gina Warwick as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Karen Young as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Helga Jones as Harem girl (uncredited)
- Screenplay - Talbot Rothwell
- Music - Eric Rogers
- Production Manager - Jack Swinburne
- Director of Photography - Alan Hume
- Editor - Alfred Roome
- Art Director - Alex Vetchinsky
- Camera Operator - Alan Hall
- Assistant Director - David Bracknell
- Continuity - Joy Mercer
- Assistant Editor - Jack Gardner
- Make-up - Geoffrey Rodway
- Sound Recordists - Dudley Messenger & Ken Barker
- Hairdresser - Stella Rivers
- Costume Designer - Emma Selby-Walker
- Dubbing Editor - Wally Nelson
- Location Manager - Terry Clegg
- Producer - Peter Rogers
- Director - Gerald Thomas
Dates and locations
- Filming dates – 1 May-23 June 1967
- Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire
- Rye and Camber Sands, Sussex
- Swakeleys House, Ickenham, Middlesex
- Osterley Park House, Isleworth, Middlesex
The character named "Corktip" is a parody of "Cigarette" in the 1936 film Under Two Flags, a movie about the French Foreign Legion in the Sahara desert. The name refers to cigarettes, such as the Craven A brand, which had a cork tip.
Phil Silvers was paid a great deal more than any other cast member, which provoked a great deal of animosity among the regular Carry On team. Despite Talbot Rothwell writing in January 1967 that the part "simply yells for Phil Silvers all the way along. I just can't get this Bilko image out of my mind", the central role of the fast-talking Foreign Legion Sergeant had originally been earmarked for Sid James. However, with a commitment to the ITV sitcom George and the Dragon, Sid's part was recast. Sid suffered a heart attack on 13 May 1967, less than two weeks into the filming schedule.
The song used by Bo and the others to trick Abdul into thinking there are reinforcements coming is "Durch die grüne Heide", a marching song used by the German Army during World War II.
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