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Carry On Cabby DVD

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A rare Carry On with more interest in having a proper plot than tossing off gags every line, Cabby is also one of the friendliest of the series, built around the relationship between a cackling but good-hearted Sid James and an unusually touching Hattie Jacques. Sid's so obsessed with his taxi business that he neglects his wife, spending their wedding anniversary driving expectant father Jim Dale to and from the maternity hospital on a false alarm that naturally pays off with a delivery in the back of the cab. This drives Hattie to set up her own rival firm ("Glam Cabs"), employing dolly birds in tailored uniforms to undercut the likes of Kenneth Connor and Charles Hawtrey. It ends happily, with a pair of hold-up men trapped in a ring of taxis and the marriage saved. Among the expected Carry On bits: Connor in drag, Amanda Barrie in a corset, Hawtrey in a leather jacket as a devout rambler ("We like to go as far as we can"), Liz Fraser as Connor's perky intended. Kenneth Williams is missed, but his role as the obnoxious shop steward (Carry On producer Peter Rogers never missed a chance to be nasty about the unions) is ably taken by Norman Chappell. Other familiar faces are Bill Owen, Peter Gilmore, Milo O'Shea, Renee Houston and Michael Ward as the tweedy businessman who has apparently left a pearl earring in the back of Connor's cab. On the DVD: No extras, but it's a smashing widescreen presentation of a pristine black and white print. --Kim Newman

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Gerald Thomas directs this seventh film in the 'Carry On' series starring Sid James and Hattie Jacques. Charlie (James), the owner of taxi firm Speedee Taxis, finds he has some serious competition when rival company GlamCabs opens up nearby. With his company facing bankruptcy, Charlie suggests a merger only to call it off when he finds out his wife Peggy (Jacques), who started GlamCabs as a way to get back at him for years of neglect, is the new firm's mysterious owner. However, when Peggy is then kidnapped by bank robbers, Charlie is forced to put his issues to one side and rally the drivers at Speedee Taxis in a bid to rescue her and bring her home to safety. The cast also includes Kenneth Connor, Jim Dale and Cyril Chamberlain.

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