Speedee Taxis is the busiest taxi firm in town and owner Charlie Hawkins (Sid James) is the busiest cabby, much to the dismay of his wife, Peggy (Hattie Jacques). On the night of their wedding anniversary, Charlie is held up by an expectant father (Jim Dale) who demands that his wife be taken to hospital – twice! When she finally goes into labour, Charlie is kept out all night and misses his anniversary dinner. Vowing revenge, Peggy tells Charlie she’s going to find a job.
Suddenly, a new cab firm arrives in town. Glamcabs offers a fleet of new, modern cars and sexy female drivers. Faced with that sort of competition, Charlie’s battered old taxis and veteran drivers cannot hope to compete and before long he’s facing bankruptcy. When he tries and spectacularly fails to sabotage the Glamcabs operation, Charlie is forced to visit their owner, the mysterious Mrs Glam, to propose a merger. But Charlie’s troubles really begin when he discovers the identity of Mrs Glam.
A Peter Rogers Production Directed by Gerald Thomas
1963 Black & White
Screenplay: Talbot Rothwell (based on an idea by SC Green & RM Hills)
Music: Eric Rogers
your horn for hilarious fun with Sid James and the rest of the Carry On
gang. Hattie Jacques plays Peggy, long suffering wife of the workaholic
owner of Speedee Cabs, Charlie (Sid James). Peggy decides to get one up on
her hubby and starts up a rival firm, Glam Cabs, and soon starts beating
Charlie at his own game. The secret of her success is simple; she only
employs gorgeous female taxi drivers! Carry On Cabby also stars Kenneth
Connor, Charles Hawtrey and Jim Dale."
Carry On Cabby is a gentle comedy of misunderstanding and rivalry and the heart of the film, the relationship between Charlie and Peggy is beautifully realised. They are the perfect couple and despite their increasingly bitter feud, all you want for them is to kiss and make up and move to Peggy’s dream house to raise a family. Cabby is by far the most sentimental of the Carry On films, but it differs greatly from the earlier Hudis films in that the emotion never feels artificial or awkward.
There’s plenty more to love, besides. Charles Hawtrey, by now firmly cast as the smiling simpleton is delightfully camp. In a break from his usual character (most likely due to the film’s non-Carry On roots), Kenneth Connor is plays a more down-to-earth straight role (at least until he drags up as a Glamcab girl, at which point all bets are well and truly off) and the supporting cast of other players are all perfectly cast, particularly Amanda Barrie, who simply sizzles as Anthea.
Carry On Cabby is a beautiful film - it’s romantic and sentimental but it’s also delightfully playful. While not typical of the direction the Carry On films have taken up to this point, it’s a last reminder of the more innocent charms of the earlier films, written by a scriptwriter who, in Carry On terms at least, had yet to find his niche. Enjoy it while it lasts because when Rothwell finally cracked the formula the Carry Ons would never be the same again.