Carry On at Your Convenience was the fourth Carry On film of the 1970s, and the 22nd of the franchise, starring regulars Sid James, Joan Sims, Jacki Piper, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Williams, Bernard Bresslaw and Hattie Jacques. The film also introduced Kenneth Cope, who would star in another Carry On soon after.
It is noted for being the first box office flop in the Carry On series; with few exceptions, most of the films that followed it were flops as well. This was mostly due to the portrayal of the working class as stupid and lazy, and the middle class as superior and clever; most of the audience of the Carry On films were the "stupid and lazy" working class, so they reacted rather negatively — some even boycotting the movie when it was first released.
This one starred Cope as a lazy union representative called Vic Spanner, who works in a toilet factory named W.C. Boggs & Son, headed by Sid Plummer (James) and W.C. Boggs (Williams). He organizes strikes every so often when he cannot be bothered to do any work, much to the disgust of the workers and the company they work under. The company cannot afford any other strikes because they are losing loads of money, yet Plummer holds another strike over the company banning tea servings during working time.
Despite all the fiasco, there are other problems around. Plummer is divided over caring about the situation because he is attracted to factory worker Chloe Moore (Sims), and is earning lots of gambling money over his wife's (Jacques) parrot, who makes correct predictions over the horse races. Lew Boggs (Richard O'Callaghan) is competing with Spanner over Plummer's daughter Myrtle (Piper), and Charles Coote (Hawtrey) is considering manufacturing 1000 bidets for a wealthy Arabian sheikh, even though Boggs is unimpressed with the idea.
Tropes in the film:
- Actor Allusion: The coach trip is aboard a "Jack Crump" coach, Jacki Piper's real name was Jackie Crump
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: The entire coach group become this when they go on their Brighton day trip. The middle-management visit a shooting gallery and shoot everything in sight, and then the group travel to several pubs on the way back.
- The Alcoholic: Vic's mother thinks Charles is one when she finds him in a drunken sleep on her doorstep. She drags him inside and scalds him for being an alcoholic because her lazy late husband was one.
- All Men Are Perverts: Depending on your interpretation, most of the men in the movie are this (W.C., Fred Moore, Bernie and Coote being the only exceptions).
- Sid, for definite. He is frigid and snarky towards his wife, and has implied jealousy over their pet budgie, who Beattie has become obsessed with. He spends the movie lusting after neighbour (and fellow employee) Chloe Moore and ludicrously tries to impress her with claims of having sex every daynote after she says that husband Fred prefers to treat her on a Saturday night. During the domestic scenes after this (Sid's obvious innuendos that soar over Beattie's head), it's no wonder that the couple have only one child.
- Vic is a Hopeless Suitor to Myrtle. His obnoxious attitude and laziness is not attractive to anyone in the movie (not even the audience, considering he's portrayed as the villain), which might come from his bitterness of being a grown-ass man who still lives with his mother. (Even his Dumb Muscle partner Bernie is implied to have a more successful life than him; there is no implication that he still lives with a parent, and he even owns a motorcycle.) He's constantly in a cold war with much richer, much successful Lewis, who is much nicer than him in comparison. You'd think that this would be another case of Single-Target Sexuality, but when a much taller, much more attractive female work colleague arrives as a newbie, Vic becomes googly-eyed and protective of them. (Also see VirginWhore Complex on this page.) This heavily implies that Vic probably doesn't have any feelings for Myrtle to begin with — she's the only young girl in the workplace that isn't married or seen meeting up with a man during/after work, so he'd do anything to get into her pants (probably implies that he's a virgin, too).
- Lewis, mostly for the possible reasons for Vic above, even though Lew's a nice rich boy. It's notable that when his father calls him to reveal that he is closing the factory, Lewis rushes to stop him before being briefly distracted by the sight of Myrtle walking into the room in a see-through dressing gown with her underwear on underneath, and physically tries to resist kissing her and carrying her back to the bed.
- Basement-Dweller: In a way. Vic still lives with his mother, who is constantly ashamed of him whenever he organises a strike.
- Battle Discretion Shot: During the works outing, when Lew and Myrtle kiss on the ghost train, Spanner, who fancies Myrtle, crashes the scene. Lew asks Myrtle to excuse him a moment and the camera cuts to a skeleton moving to the sounds of Spanner getting the stuffing kicked out of him.
- Brains and Brawn: Vic and Bernie, respectively.
- Cargo Envy: Sid surprisingly seems to have resent for budgie Joey because of Beattie's obsession with him.
- The Chew Toy: Vic Spanner, as the entitled union boss who calls a strike at the drop of a hat, is also the film's main object of comic misfortune, as he loses his trousers in public when he tries to follow Lew and Myrtle on their date, gets beaten up by Lew when he follows them onto the ghost train, and gets spanked by his mother in front of the entire workforce in the film's climax.
- Comedic Spanking: The strike is ultimately resolved by Agatha spanking Vic.
- Cool Car: The car that Sid buys himself after he starts winning on the horses to replace his decrepit looking Ford 100E, is a 1971 Morris Marina 1.3 Deluxe Coupe in Bedouin, which is especially notable by the fact that the Marina was a brand new model in 1971 and the car in the film was one of the very first.
- Discontinuity: The film made many fans at the time abandon the series after 1970. Instead of the film being relateable, like many of the films were, it portrayed the working class as lazy people who went on strike whenever they felt like it. Unfortunately, many of their audience were the "lazy" working class, who immediately stopped watching the film series after that one.
- Distracted by the Sexy: When Vic is in the middle of walking out on the job, he runs into a well-endowed young lady who has just been assigned to the factory by the labour exchange as the new canteen girl. He immediately turns around to lead her back to the factory, saying they have a "lovely pair of canteens".
- Don't Call Me "Sir": After the implication of drunken sex the night before, W.C. and Miss Withering refer to each other by their forenames, much to W.C.'s annoyance.
- Double Entendre: It is a Carry On film, after all; there's lots of this.
- W.C.'s dirty limerick.There was a young man called Reg
Who took a young girl to a hedge
Then along came his wife
With a large carving knife
And cut off his meat and two veg!
- When Sid and Beattie are discussing budgies' mating habits:Beattie Plummer: Well, we know Joey's a he-bird.
Sid Plummer: Cock.
Beattie Plummer: He is! The man in the shop said so!
- W.C. and Sid discuss fortune tellers and the reliability thereof:W.C. Boggs: Fakes, that's all they are, sitting there staring in their crystal whatsisnames.
Sid Plummer: Balls.
W.C. Boggs: I quite agree!
- W.C.'s dirty limerick.
- Entitled Bastard: The first strike Spanner calls in the film is because of the management stopping the tea rounds, a privilege given by the management. Sid points out that they were still allowed to have tea in the canteen, so their rights weren't being taken away, but Spanner ignores him.
- Family Business: W.C. Boggs, where most of the movie's action takes place.
- Happily Married: Fred Moore is to Chloe, even though it's implied that Chloe isn't really happy because of his constant absence.
- Henpecked Husband: Sid Plummer to Beattie.
- Hypocrite: Vic's booking of a whole restaurant hire is postponed because the management is on strike, making Vic snap at the sorrowful owner in annoyance while Sid and the other employees look at each other smugly.
- It's All About Me: Spanner's constant strikes over stuff that none of the other staff are bothered about implies that he cares more about getting his way than defending the worker's rights.
- Jerkass: Lewis balances on a thin line on whether the viewer likes him or not. It might be satisfying to see a younger character being the complete opposite of the self-centered Vic, but he also resorts to unnecessary violence when he doesn't get his way and practically kidnapped his crush in order to win her affections back
- Just Friends: Charles sees his relationship with Vic's mother as this, but it's obvious to the audience that she wants a little more after their games of Strip Poker.
- Loser Son of Loser Dad: Vic's mother yammers to herself about how much of a lazy ne'er-do-well her dead husband was and how her grown son has become the same thing with his work on the strike organisations.
- Love Triangle: More so in this film than any other Carry On film.
- Sid pines after Chloe, who's married to Fred, all while he's married to Beattie.
- Lewis and Vic fight over Sid's daughter Myrtle.
- Nepotism: Surprisingly, a lot of this.
- W. C. and his son Lewis.
- Sid and his cafe assistant daughter Myrtle. Then Beattie considers applying for a job at the end of the movie, much to the annoyance of Sid; a slightly uncomfortable Chloe overhears them and swiftly stomps away.
- Nice Guy: The Plummer family members that are in love triangles have one of these as either a suitor or a rival.
- Chloe's husband Fred, who admits to his wife that he's a bit ashamed that he isn't around to spend time with her, and points out his concern for Sid's sudden fascination with her. To be fair, Chloe would probably be making a big mistake if she decided to cheat on Fred with Sid — Sid's persona implies that he's only satisfied with women if they're up for having sex with him 24/7, which is probably why he is cold towards his wife.
- Lewis is much nicer and caring than Myrtle's rival suitor Vic, and tries to do anything to save his father's company. Shame about what happens much later (see Took a Level in Jerkass for more information).
- Nosy Neighbor: Mrs Spragg is a mild one, who only pokes her nose into other people's business when she's wondering where the motorcycle noise is coming from.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Vic, the union rep who calls for a strike over just about anything (or if the football team he supports is playing at home).
- Overprotective Dad: Sid states nearing the end of the movie that he's always been wary of W.C.'s son and his possible interest in his daughter Myrtle. When he finds out that Myrtle eloped with the boy, Sid nearly hits the roof, but W.C. is much more accepting and even calls for a celebratory party.
- Potty Emergency: The pub crawl the cast goes on during the works outing culminates in this, with the bus stopping next to a bush for them to take a leak behind.
- Punny Name: More so in this than other Carry On films.
- W.C. Boggs and his son nicknamed Lew — the fore and surnames being British slang for the toilet. It's such a shame that W.C.'s initials aren't "Walter Carter", because it'd sound like "water closet" if you squinted your ears at it hard enough. (The "W" is actually William.)
- Other characters include the Plummer family — two of them working in a toilet factory.
- Miss Withering, which sounds like weathering (erosion), which could imply that she's weathering in age, or she's weathering in desirability.
- Bernie Hulke.
- Vic Spanner, which is fitting because he inspects the area that assembles the toilet parts together.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The movie was made because of the topical subject of many working-class people going on strike over pensions and minimum wage.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Mr Boggs and his son Lewis would be quite happy to negotiate with the union to resolve the many disputes they have with the management, but Vic is not willing to negotiate with them.
- Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: The rich middle-class son-of-a-factory owner Lewis Boggs, to the working-class still-lives-with-his-mother Vic Spanner.
- Shirtless Scene: Lewis has a brief one when he's calling his father in one of the last scenes in the film.
- Shout-Out: The Potty Emergency montage rings strongly of a similar coach tour piece by Marty Feldman.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Lewis resorts to either violence or threatening suicide in order to get Myrtle's affections back.
- Snobs Vs Slobs: Perhaps the entire movie in a nutshell. The movie writes the snobs as the heroes of the picture, though. note
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Lewis is a shoe-in as a nicer love interest to Myrtle than Vic, as well as being the only other young man in the main cast. Then when he spots Myrtle enjoying her time with Vic in Brighton, he pays the Pier staff in charge of the tunnel of horror to stop the machine and kidnap Myrtle in the darkness so it'd be easy to blackmail her into marrying him.
- Tuckerization: The character Charles Hawtrey played, Charles Coote, was so named in honour of his life long and very close friend film producer Bernard Coote.
- Tunnel of Love: Brighton Pier doesn't have this, but Vic and Myrtle chooses a Tunnel of Horror ride for the same reasons of this trope (unsurprisingly, Vic more so).
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Unusually for a Carry On film, Sid and Chloe reluctantly decide not to act on their attraction to each other, as they are both already married (if not especially happily).
- Uptown Guy: Lewis Boggs.
- VirginWhore Complex: Although it's not the focal point of the movie, there is an obvious parallel with Vic's attractions to women. He pines after the nice girl Myrtle, but seems to be unable to control himself around female colleagues that wear shorter skirts and wear shirts that expose some cleavage.
- Weird Trade Union: Vic Spanner is a lazy worker at a toilet factory who is (supposedly) the head of the factory trade union and organised worker strikes whenever he doesn't want to work.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: After getting completely drunk on the works outing to Brighton, W.C. Boggs wakes up the next morning in bed with his secretary, Miss Withering (Patsy Rowlands). He uneasily asks her if they did anything he should know about, and Miss Withering smirks and says she knows the answer to that question... and will never tell him.
- What's a Henway?:W.C. Boggs: A fortune teller? Fakes, that's all they are, sitting there staring... in their crystal... what's-its-name.Sid Plummer: [helping him] Balls. noteW.C. Boggs: I quite agree!