AVAILABLE ON DVD
RUNNING TIME: 91 min
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
Navy frigate the ‘Aristotle’ has been sold to a Middle Eastern country, and Bosun and his crew decide to make some money by selling tickets to some passengers in direct violation of regulations. He recommends that Lt. Humphrey Fairweather, who has been posted on virtually every ship in the Navy due to his incompetence, captains the craft during the voyage, because he probably won’t notice the passengers on board. Fairweather accepts, and is amazed to see that the crew seem to have lost all their bad habits, but the latter have trouble keeping the passengers out of Fairweather’s way….
This is to all intents and purposes a direct sequel to Up The Creek, with many of the original cast members returning, but because Peter Sellers was busy and they wanted to crank the movie out as quickly as possible [which may have been why it wasn’t the hit the first movie was], his character’s name is now changed to Bosun and is played by Frankie Howard, so he’s quite a different person too, while the ship’s name has also changed. Those irritating inconsistencies aside, Further Up The Creek, if rather cheaper looking than its predecessor, is a faster and funnier comedy than Up The Creek and made me wish that there had been further adventures for Fairweather and his lot. While the story still hinges on people trying to hide things from the mostly daft Fairweather, it avoids repeating the first film’s plot too much, benefits from its passenger characters who include two chirpy old ladies much like the ones in Fawlty Towers, two acrobats, Shirley Eaton [a common face in films like this of the time] and, best of all, Thora Hird in formidable form as a woman out to find her husband who walked out on her, and only stalls somewhat in the final section where the farcical happenings become more plot centred and the laughter lessens.
Up to then though the jokes really do come thick and fast in a slightly more risqué script than before [though the film is still perfect family viewing and overall very wholesome], though the scenes that really had me in stitches were two early ones involving a railway porter [Stanley Unwin] whose jibberish is only understood by his co-worker [who else but Michael Ripper, who seemed to turn up in every other Hammer film in the late 50’s]. David Tomlinson, whose character is hilariously introduced trying to show some young know-it-all cadets a new plane and in the process stripping a group of passing wrens down to their underwear with an accidental engine blast, is even better than before, sharpening his twit act but also being a very good drunk, while Howard, though no Sellers, is a good foil for Tomlinson with his own comic persona already well in full flow. This virtually forgotten comedy [I even had trouble finding decent sized pics for it] really is a lot of fun, undoubtedly a film that probably seems very dated to some but that’s only really because such films aren’t made much today, which is a shame. Good humour is good humour regardless of how old it is.