The final scene of this film moved me when I was a child. It all seems a little sentimental now but the moment when Ted Ray stepped out to face his pupils who had wrecked his chance of promotion to prevent him from leaving them is one of my all time favourite film moments.
I was a fan of the early Carry On films. This 1959 film was the third in the series that eventually totalled thirty-one. I saw it on British television in the 60s since it was released in cinemas before I was born! The black and white story of an ambitious headteacher who sees the arrival of inspectors as his opportunity to snatch the headship of a brand new school is a good one.
Two of his pupils overhear him telling a teacher that, should he get the job, there will be opportunities for others. They decide that the only way to keep their headteacher is to ensure the inspection is a disaster and they enlist their friends to make sure it is. The comedy comes from the thwarted efforts of the head to impress and the inability of the teachers to cope with the breakdown of order.
In the current British education system the inspectorate is a malign growth and there is little to amuse there but this is from a kinder age and the story leads to the final scene which I loved as a boy.
The ‘Carry On’ films continued into the 60s and 70s and I loved most of them until the bawdy humour became distasteful. Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques and Charles Hawtry were favourites of mine but, in this film, Ted Ray was the star. It was his only ‘Carry on’ role.
‘Carry On Teacher’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?