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The thirteenth film in the Carry On series and one of the only two installments in the franchise to have not had the Phrase "Carry On" in its title during its original release.
Set around the French revolution, the film is a spoof of The Scarlet Pimpernel, with Sid James leading the way as The Black Fingernail. Leading the villains is Kenneth Williams as Robespierre's chief of secret police, overly pompous Citizen Camembert.
The cast includes:
- Sid James as Sir Rodney Ffing (with two "F"'s), AKA The Black Fingernail.
- Kenneth Williams as Citizen Camembert
- Peter Butterworth as Citizen Bidet
- Jim Dale as Lord Darcy de Pue
- Charles Hawtrey as The Duke de Pommefrites
- Joan Sims as Desiree
- Dany Robin as Jacqueline
- Peter Gilmore as Citizen Robespierre
Tropes appearing in this film
- Affectionate Parody: of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
- And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Sir Rodney tricks Bidet into thinking Camembert is the Black Fingernail in disguise. When Camembert protests that he's the real thing, Bidet replies "And I'm Madame de Pompadour!"
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: After the window Sir Rodney has entered through turns out to belong to Désirée Dubarry's boudoir:
Sir Rodney: Now, don't start screaming, please.
- Banister Slide: Sir Rodney during the climactic fight.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Sir Rodney and Jacqueline talk to the audience, when they first meet. Repeated when Rodney's with Desiree in the Rose garden.
- Bumbling Sidekick: Bidet
- Cartoon Bomb: The smoke bomb used in one of the Black Fingernail's rescues.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Charles Hawtrey's specialty! The Duke de Pommefrites.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Sir Rodney, Lord Darcy and Duke de Pommefrites. With Rodney and Darcy it's just an act. Not so, with Pommefrites.
- Door Judo: Bidet attempts to break down the locked door of a room Sir Rodney was hiding in. As he completes his run-up, the door opens, and he goes straight through the doorway, across the room, and out the window.
- The Door Slams You: Bidet attempts to lock the double doors to prevent Sir Rodney's escape, and is slammed behind one of them as Lord Darcy and the Duke come to Sir Rodney's aid. When he recovers, he tries again, and is slammed behind the other door as the Duke re-enters the fight.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Rather odd example. Pommefrites, at Sir Rodney's ball, gives a boastful and completely made up tale of how he escaped from the guillotine, claiming to have killed six or seven guards, singlehanded. However, during the climactic final battle, he actually handles himself reasonably well.
- Fight Scene: The climactic battle is a grab-bag of fight scene tropes including Chairman of the Brawl and lots of Flynning.
- Flipping the Bird: The Black Fingernail's calling card is a picture of a hand giving the two-finger version, with one fingernail blacked in. A scene early in the film shows that Sir Rodney became the Black Fingernail after hearing that nobody was lifting a finger to save the victims of the Revolution, and resolving that he would lift two.
- High Heel Face Turn: Desiree
- Karmic Trickster: The Black Fingernail.
- Land in the Saddle: Sir Rodney, fleeing Camembert and his men, summons his horse with a whistle and leaps out a window onto its back.
- Let's Get Dangerous
- Loveable Rogue: as with pretty much any Carry On character played by Sid James.
- Love At First Sight: Rodney and Jacqueline
- Mugged for Disguise: Three of Camembert's guards, when Sir Rodney, Lord Darcy, and the Duke are rescuing Jacqueline.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Although more than two thirds of the cast are playing French characters, only Jacqueline (played by the late French actress Dany Robin) actually speaks with a French Accent.
- Pepper Sneeze: In a scene directly inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sir Rodney and Lord Darcy prank Camembert with pepper in his snuff. While they're preparing it, the pepper nearly makes Lord Darcy sneeze, and Sir Rodney holds it at bay with an Anti-Sneeze Finger.
- Powder Trail: Used by Sir Rodney and his allies to set off a couple of powder kegs and blow a door down. Impressively, the trail leads down a flight of steps at one point, and this apparently offers no obstacle to the spark.
- Smug Snake: Camembert. Kenneth Williams was a legend when it came to playing this sort of antagonist.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Citizen Robespierre towards Camembert, and Camembert towards everyone else.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Camembert, with a healthy dose of Inspector Javert on the side.
- Ten Paces and Turn: The Duel between Camembert and Sir Rodney. They later make it Fifteen paces instead of ten.
- Terrible Trio: Camembert, Bidet and Desiree
- Tree Buchet: Used by the heroes to get Sir Rodney into the chateau where Jacqueline is being held prisoner.
- Window Pain: Several of Camembert's valuable stained glass windows get broken during the climactic fight at his chateau.
- Wrote the Book: Desiree on the Duke: "When it comes to wandering hands, he could write a series of travel books!"