MONTHLY FILM BULLETIN
THE BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE
Volume 31, No.368, September 1964, pages 133-4
CARRY ON SPYING (1964)
Top secret Formula "X" is stolen from a War Department research establishment by an agent disguised as a milk roundsman. BOSH (British Operational Security) discovers that the agent is named Milchmann and that he is in the employ of the subversive organisation known as STENCH (Society for Total Extinction of Non-Conforming Humans), headed by the mysterious Dr. Crow. Unfortunately, the Chief of BOSH is short of agents, so Desmond Simkins, normally put out of harm's way as head of trainee spies, is sent to Vienna with his latest bunch of recruits-Harold Crump, Charlie Bind and Daphne Honeybutt. In Vienna they find Milchmann murdered and the formula gone; but the trail leads to Algiers and another STENCH agent, The Fat Man, from whom they re-cover the formula, then make their escape by train, hotly pursued by STENCH agents, now led by the beautiful Lila. Just before they are captured, they destroy the formula by eating it, after Daphne, who has a photographic memory, has committed it to memory. They are taken to the underground headquarters of STENCH where the sinister Dr. Crow is driven mad by Daphne's naturally brainless resistance to brainwashing. Thwarted in her attempts to secure the formula, Dr. Crow sends the quartet to their doom in the Automation Plant, but they are saved by the intervention of Lila, who reveals herself as a counter-agent belonging to SNOG (Society for the Neutralisation of Germs). Having gleefully tripped the auto-destruct switch, they make their escape by the emergency exit and emerge in the Chief's office at BOSH to discover that STENCH headquarters, due to blow up at any minute, are directly underneath....
Straight off the Carry On assembly line, this spoof on James Bondery looses a few random and very limp satirical shafts, but is for the most part content to stick to routine: in other words, a few bright gags are buried in a waste of coy camp, female impersonation and mildly smutty jokes. Bernard Cribbins manages to be quite funny, especially when disguised as an Oriental harridan in an Algiers bordello (with Renée Houston appearing briefly as the Madame), twanging desultorily at a stringed instrument and emitting a piercing parody of Eastern song in quarter-tone style; as a newcomer to the team, Barbara Windsor is decidedly an asset; and Dilys Laye is charming as Lila.
The Monthly Film Bulletin was published by the British Film Institute between 1934 and 1991. Initially aimed at distributors and exhibitors as well as filmgoers, it carried reviews and details of all UK film releases. In 1991, the Bulletin was absorbed by Sight and Sound magazine.