A rare Carry On
with more interest in having a proper plot than tossing off gags every line, Cabby
is also one of the friendliest of the series, built around the relationship between a cackling but good-hearted Sid James and an unusually touching Hattie Jacques. Sid's so obsessed with his taxi business that he neglects his wife, spending their wedding anniversary driving expectant father Jim Dale to and from the maternity hospital on a false alarm that naturally pays off with a delivery in the back of the cab. This drives Hattie to set up her own rival firm ("Glam Cabs"), employing dolly birds in tailored uniforms to undercut the likes of Kenneth Connor and Charles Hawtrey. It ends happily, with a pair of hold-up men trapped in a ring of taxis and the marriage saved. Among the expected Carry On
bits: Connor in drag, Amanda Barrie in a corset, Hawtrey in a leather jacket as a devout rambler ("We like to go as far as we can"), Liz Fraser as Connor's perky intended. Kenneth Williams is missed, but his role as the obnoxious shop steward (Carry On
producer Peter Rogers never missed a chance to be nasty about the unions) is ably taken by Norman Chappell. Other familiar faces are Bill Owen, Peter Gilmore, Milo O'Shea, Renee Houston and Michael Ward as the tweedy businessman who has apparently left a pearl earring in the back of Connor's cab.
On the DVD: No extras, but it's a smashing widescreen presentation of a pristine black and white print. --Kim Newman
A classic Carry On film bundled with a documentary celebration of the Carry On franchise. 'Carry On Cabby' (1963) is the seventh entry in the 'Carry On' series, and the first not to feature Kenneth Williams. Charlie (Sid James), owner of the Speedee Cabs company, finds he has some serious competition when his wife Peggy (Hattie Jacques) sets up a rival firm, consisting only of glamorous female drivers. Cabbies driven to distraction include Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Connor and Jim Dale (in his first 'Carry On' appearance). In 'That's Carry On' (1977), celebrating twenty years of classic Carry On films, two of the film's best-loved stars, Kenneth Williams and Barbara Windsor return to Pinewood film studios to unwrap some rib-tickling moments from the series.