Carry On Cabby began life as a script that Paul Rothwell had worked on at the request of Peter Rogers, Call Me A Cab, following the premise of an established authority figure (Sid James) and a collection of clumsy bumblers (Charlie Hawtrey prominent among them).
The moving portrayal of the marriage on the rocks between Charlie and Peggy Hawkins (Sid James and Hattie Jacques) is at the heart of the film and even the well-organised revenge on Sid’s love of taxi driving has a sense of pathos and guilty emotion.
No one could have bettered the performance of Sid James as the ultimate rogue talking, man-about-town, war-weary, quick thinking, unromantic battler of the black cabs.
Whether it be seductively chatting to Hattie over his taxi radio, doggedly trying to whip his new recruits into shape, performing a brilliantly timed chain-smoking sequence with Charles Hawtrey and Jim Dale, Sid shines throughout.
A cab war is inevitable when Speedee Taxis owner Charlie refuses to leave his work behind him when he comes home.
Feeling neglected, his wife Peggy sets up a fleet of rival taxis called Glamcabs (who have a secret weapon – All their drivers are beautiful women).
But the all-women company finds it isn’t quite so easy as they first thought when Peggy is kidnapped during a robbery.
In a sparkling homage to the Hollywood Western, Sid’s hoard of cabs come to the aid of the hapless heroines in a fun-filled and touching community-based closer.
Kenneth Connor acts as Sid’s comrade-in-arms, fighting the restrictions of female ties and continually trying to brighten Sid’s spirits with outlandish ideas and helpful opinions.
Perhaps most overlooked, this film has one of the best scores of all the Carry On‘s, and makes use of some lovely arrangements.
Terry ‘Pint-Pot’ Tankard