Publicity

 


Story

The country is in the grip of a national flu epidemic.  People everywhere are dropping like flies.  Police Sergeant Wilkins is so short-staffed that he is forced to turn to raw recruits to police the area. 

Help comes in the shape of three officers, fresh out of training school; Constable Charlie Constable (Kenneth Connor), Constable Stanley Benson (Kenneth Williams) and Constable Tom Potter (Leslie Phillips).  Together with Special (very special) Constable Timothy Gorse (Charles Hawtrey), they patrol the streets bringing chaos where there was order, helping bank robbers and even indulging in a spot of accidental shoplifting.  They may have the best of intentions, but the thin blue line looks decidedly shaky with these recruits on patrol. 

 

A Peter Rogers Production
Directed by Gerald Thomas

1959
Black & White

Screenplay: Norman Hudis (based on an idea by Brock Martin)
Music: Bruce Montgomery
Certificate U
86 minutes

Sergeant Frank Wilkins - Sid James
Inspector Mills Eric Barker
Constable Charlie Constable - Kenneth Connor
Special Constable Gorse - Charles Hawtrey
Constable Benson - Kenneth Williams
Constable Potter - Leslie Phillips
WPC Gloria Passworthy - Joan Sims
Sergeant Laura Moon - Hattie Jacques
Sally - Shirley Eaton
Constable Thurston - Cyril Chamberlain
Mrs May - Joan Hickson
Distraught Woman - Irene Handl
Herbert Hall - Terence Longdon
Harrison - Jill Adams
First Crook - Freddie Mills
Old Woman - Esma Cannon
Vague Woman - Noel Dyson
Assistant Manager - Robin Ray
 

 

"Carry On favourite Sid James joins the team for the first time as the long-suffering Sergeant Wilkins, in charge of the sorriest bunch of Constables who ever fumbled with their truncheons.

There's nothing this collection of dim-witted buffoons in blue can't make a mess of, including dressing in drag to catch shoplifters!  Sid James is joined in this hilarious comedy by Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Hattie Jacques and Joan Sims."

 

Review

With Ted Ray now firmly back under contract to ABC, Rogers and Thomas had to find a new lead for their next Carry On and the craggy features of former Hancock botherer Sid James fitted the bill beautifully.  But this is a very different Sid to the Carry On persona we’ve come to know and love. In Constable, and indeed in his next few Carry Ons, Sid is a fatherly, authoritarian figure.  Left to handle the new recruits, he spends the film not leering and cackling but getting increasingly frustrated by the well-intentioned idiots under his command.  As a foil for the rest of the team, Sid is perfectly cast. 

Hawtrey, Williams, Connor and Phillips tread a beat that is all too familiar.   There is little that is new in terms of the premise; bumbling fools thrust into a situation way above their capabilities – but the old Hudis magic is at work again.  It’s the banter, the set pieces and the hi-jinx that make Carry On Constable such a delight.  We all know what we are going to get when we go to see a Carry On and audiences at the time did as well. But there’s a definite evolution in the regular characters and their personas; Williams is more arch, louder and of course completely oblivious to his many faults, Hawtrey is a doe-eyed simpleton with not a bad word to say about anyone and Connor is a sexually frustrated bumbler.  

Phillips takes the straight(er) role once again and plays the charmer we know and love.  Everyone’s growing into the personas with which they would later become so famous.

Constable also sees the Carry On team enjoy their first real taste of location filming and as they head into the streets of Ealing it’s a genuine thrill to see them out and about in the “real” world.  Treading the same streets as us doesn’t make the Carry On team any more real. If anything it makes their antics seem even more surreal. 

Constable also sees the Carry On team enjoy their first real taste of location filming and as they head into the streets of Ealing it’s a genuine thrill to see them out and about in the “real” world.  Treading the same streets as us doesn’t make the Carry On team any more real. If anything it makes their antics seem even more surreal. 

There is a lot going on in Carry On Constable.  It is a film which covers an awful lot of ground, both in comedy and geographically. By now, there’s a slightly more adult tone creeping into the films – the pursuit of sex is dealt with in not entirely innocent terms and it’s dealt with quite a few times, albeit in a suggestive, cheeky way.  Carry On Constable is a step onward from its predecessors. There’s a great deal of confidence in the way the story is delivered in what is an accomplished, relaxed and tremendously fun – and funny - film.