The Carry On team throw caution to the wind and presents an hour and a half of good, clean lavatorial humour. This was the first sign of impending decline in the series and the major flop during a seemingly indestructible purple patch.
Cascading with lavatorial gags, references, and, indeed, lavatories, everything in the film is totally overplayed and flamboyantly characterised. While I’m All Right Jack (1959) was a huge box-office success, Convenience died a death.
However, the Boulting Brothers’ satire was a cleverly written social comment on the unionists’ problems, giving both management and workers eccentric figures.
Kenneth Williams is W.C. Boggs, the troubled owner of a small company trying to manufacture fine toilet ware. Williams represents the established world of British industry, clinging on to authority while facing threats to traditional ideals.
The incompetent management are constantly at loggerheads with a bolshie union led by the ultimate workforce hero, Sid Plummer (Sid James).
Williams’ son, Lewis (Richard O’Callaghan), is the young romantic lead who chases and eventually wins the girl, Myrtle (the lovely Jacki Piper), who is also Sid’s daughter, thus joining workforce with management.
Shop steward Vic Spanner (Kenneth Cope of Randall & Hopkirk: Deceased fame) finds himself at loggerheads with the management of W C Boggs & Sons toilet factory and is also suffering pangs of jealousy because Myrtle is dating the manager’s son.
The film goes through every corny gag in the book while the team delight in overtly stereotyped performances.
There is a domestic running gag between Sid and his wife, Beattie (Hattie Jacques), and their budgie Joey (who has a very lucrative talent for picking winners in horse races), creating the tongue-in-cheek, 1970s ‘women in their place’ attitudes towards Beattie’s lazy and bumbling antics.
After the factory day-trip-to-Brighton finale – a 1970s seaside postcard brought to life – the unionists are slapped on the wrist, and all’s right with the world.
W C Boggs
Miss Hortense Withering