Carry On Cabby

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Speedee Taxis is a great success, which means its workaholic owner Charlie starts neglecting Peggy, his wife. Suddenly a fleet of rival taxis appears from nowhere and start pinching all the…

ACTORS :  Sidney James, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Connor

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1963

POSTAGE : Free postage within Australia

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Carry On Cabby  Speedee Taxis is a great success, which means its workaholic owner Charlie starts neglecting Peggy, his wife. Suddenly a fleet of rival taxis appears from nowhere and start pinching all the fares. The rivals are Glamcabs, and they have a secret weapon. All their drivers are very attractive women! Who’s behind Glamcabs? It’s open warfare and only one fleet can survive! You’ll strip your gears laughing at . . . Carry on Cabby

CARRY ON CABBY (Gerald Thomas, 1963) ***

Carry On Cabby  This is another solid entry in the popular series which, again, recalls earlier classics of British comedy – such as the Ealing and Boulting Brothers films.

Kenneth Williams’ presence is missed here: apparently, he turned down the role of the shop steward (probably influenced by Peter Sellers’ similar, award-winning characterization in I’M ALL RIGHT, JACK [1959] and eventually played by Norman Chappell) because he felt the script was substandard – I disagree and, in fact, Talbot Rothwell became the series’ official writer from this point on! Joan Sims is also conspicuous by her absence (the “Carry On” stalwart’s typical role is played here by the slimmer Liz Fraser – incidentally, also a cast member of JACK).

Sid James, however, is clearly in control – with Hattie Jacques as his female counterpart; even Kenneth Connor and Charles Hawtrey’s characters feel subsidiary here, the film being heavier on plot than the previous series outings I’ve just watched, though both get their big scene (more on this later). The narrative concerns Jacques’ elaborate way of dealing with husband James’ slacking attentions: he’s a cab-service owner and totally absorbed in his work so, unbeknownst to him, she contrives to open a rival business – but with the advantage of young and attractive women drivers! Connor is James’ sidekick (involved with Fraser, tending bar at the cab-driver’s café) who, at one point, appears in drag when he’s made to infiltrate the ‘enemy camp’ (as part of a plan by James to get at the competition); Hawtrey is an accident-prone novice driver (his ‘baptism of fire’ is unsurprisingly fraught with disaster); Jim Dale appears in his first “Carry On” as well, in a bit as an expectant father who takes cabbies James and Connor ‘on a ride’ and causes the former to miss his anniversary celebration!

While there’s some tit-for-tat routines between them (the women – knowledgeable of the fact that the men have intercepted their radio signals – deliberately give out fake addresses, while James & Co. show their force by tampering with the vehicles driven by the ladies…except that the latter still get the upper hand, because their passengers are all-too-willing to lend a helping hand!), the companies finally get together when one of Jacques’ cabs – with her, Fraser and the girls’ payroll inside – is abducted by a gang of crooks. All the various vehicles set out in co-ordinated pursuit and manage to corner the ‘stray’ cab in open-country; the final gag, then, sees Hawtrey driving James’ car into a tree – so that the boss has no alternative but to hail a cab for himself!

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