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Film / Carry On Cabby

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Peggy: I haven't had a chance to talk to him since last Wednesday - and then it was only with his legs!
Ted: His legs?
Peggy: Yes, sticking out from under a cab. It's not fair, 'e knows I can't get under one.
Peggy Hawkins complaining about her husband Charlie to Ted Watson.

Carry On Cabby is a 1963 black and white film, which is the seventh Carry On movie in the British series. It starred Sid James, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Connor, Charles Hawtrey, Esma Cannon, and Liz Fraser. It was also the first Carry On to feature a script by Talbot Rothwell (the writer of the first six films, Norman Hudis, having been offered a job in Hollywood after the surprise American success of Carry On Nurse); he would write the scripts for twenty Carry On films to come, ending with Carry On Dick in 1974.

Cabby tells the story of Charlie Hawkins (James), a workaholic who is always in constant trouble with his wife Peggy (Jacques) because he is never home when she is awake or around. He is in charge of taxi company Speedee Taxis and works alongside Ted Watson (Connor) - who's having the same relationship problems with girlfriend Sally (Fraser) - and newcomer Terry "Pintpot" Tankard (Hawtrey), and his long hours at work make most of his conversations be on the topic of cabbing, even with his annoyed wife.


Upon forgetting their wedding anniversary and arriving hours late for their anniversary date night, Peggy hopes to avenge him the harshest way she can think off - by attacking his taxi business. So she does this by setting up her own, called GlamCabs, by having young attractive women as the drivers, who use their assets to gain customers, which endangers Charlie's business and convinces him try and bite back twice as big.

This movie is notable for its full use of Values Dissonance. The common theme in the movie is sexism, which is the reason why Peggy invents her own rival taxi company that only hires women. One of the women hired, Flo Sims (Cannon), was already discriminated against for being female by Speedee Taxis, and the workers telling Charlie that driving was "a man's job". Once GlamCabs starts earning more money, Charlie is threatened and tries everything to make them bankrupt.


Despite that, Carry On Cabby is full of the common themes of a Carry On film: a Hurricane of Puns, Sid James' laugh and bawdy humour.

Tropes Included:

  • Alliterative Name:
    • Terry Tankard.
    • Smiley Sims.
  • Apron Matron: Peggy.
  • Battle of the Sexes: Peggy only starts this to hurt her husband in the same way that she has been, but it eventually turns into this when the men become very defensive and think that their manhood is being threatened.
  • Berserk Button: Ted asks his girlfriend Sally whether he can cancel their date so that he can fill in for absent workers' taxi shifts. She responds by chasing him out of the cafe, armed with dinner plates.
  • Career Versus Man: Charlie is absolutely disgusted that Peggy considers getting a job.
  • Censored for Comedy:
    Allbright: All right, but I don't know what the union's gonna say about all this!
    Sarge: [microphone feedback] the union!note 
    Allbright: Well, really!...
  • Cool Old Lady: Flo.
  • Disguised in Drag: Ted attempts to infiltrate Glam Cabs by dragging up. They see through it immediately.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The reason why Glam Cabs are getting so many male customers.
  • Door Dumb: Granted that there's no sign on the cafe door, Terry rips the door handle off because he thinks it's a "pull" door.
  • Dramatic Irony: Charlie constantly bitches and tells his wife his methods on how to sabotage Glam Cabs, giving her enough time to find a way to stop them.
  • Driver of a Black Cab: A couple of workaholic taxi drivers try to make a rival company go out of business.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Terry.
    Ted: [to Charlie, who's in the passenger seat during Terry's trial] You had an accident?
    Charlie: [glumly, while staring at Terry] No thanks. We've just had some.
  • Exiled to the Couch: Peggy goes to bed drunk after waiting up really late for Charlie to come home, locking the bedroom door. Charlie has no choice to sleep on the sofa because she's too drunk and exhausted to react. Considering the circumstances, if she was sober he'd probably be sent there anyway.
  • Fainting: The expectant father faints when he sees the taxi fare. Charlie faints when he finds out that Peggy's pregnant.
  • Fanservice: The film presents the argument that in a free market, no amount of quality can compete with blatant fanservice, as a rival cab company arrives out of nowhere providing only drivers with low-cut tops, large breasts and long legs. One sequence features a succession of customers happily fixing their own cabs as the drivers lean against them idly.
  • Fanservice with a Smile: Sally.
  • Forgotten Anniversary: The workaholic taxi driver Charlie Hawkins forgets his wedding anniversary, so his wife creates a rival taxi business to get back at him.
  • Freudian Excuse: One of the workers are against Flo working alongside him in the taxi business, because he wouldn't be able to swear in the presence of a woman.
  • Greaser Delinquents: The thieves that kidnap Peggy and Sally.
  • Honour Before Reason: Allbright when he was against Flo suggesting taking over the taxi shifts for her unwell husband, when the taxi business was running short of people on the job and could use some helping hands. If Allbright didn't follow this policy, this movie probably wouldn't have happened the way it turned out.
  • Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: Ted drags up when trying to infiltrate GlamCabs, and is caught out almost instantly.
  • The Klutz: Terry and his freshly-made tea.
  • Male Gaze: The customers to the drivers of Glam Cabs.
  • Ms. Fanservice: All the taxi drivers of the company are easy on the eye.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: The man (Jim Dale) that Charlie and Ted pick up on the way to meet up with their spouses who makes them drive to the hospital and then apologizes to say that it was a false alarm and that they can drop the couple off back at their home. You think that's bad? It happens four times.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Ted is made to dress up as a woman to spy on Glam Cabs as a new recruit, but none of the women are fooled and purposely stick him in the changing rooms.
  • Pretty in Mink: Charlie gets Peggy a fur coat as an anniversary gift:
    Peggy Hawkins: Oh, Charlie! Oh, it's lovely!
    Charlie Hawkins: I'll say it is. Genuine mammoth, that is.
    Peggy Hawkins: Oh, don't be silly, Charlie.
    Charlie Hawkins: Straight up, it said so on the shop window: "Mammoth fur sale."
  • Running Gag: Terry ordering a drink at the cafe and either accidentally pouring it over someone or spilling it.
  • Serious Business: Charlie never had a sexist mindset like Allbright and most of the men that worked for him, until the Glam Cabs started becoming popular...
  • She's Got Legs: The workers of Glam Cabs.
  • Smug Snake: Allbright always wants to follow the rules of the working laws and loves finding people breaking the laws. When Flo offers to drive for the company, he immediately starts making up excuses against her and trying to convince everyone to agree with him.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: One of the reasons that many of the men at Charlie's company don't want women working with them.
  • Tagline: "It's what's up front that counts!!".
  • This Means War!: Charlie declares war with Glam Cabs after talking with (unbeknownst to him) Peggy.
    Peggy: My husband just declared war on me.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: What Charlie's workers try to do to Glam Cab's cars, but the smitten male customers willingly fix them free of charge.
  • Workaholic: Ted and Charlie. Their spouses accuse them of being Married to the Job.