1960's, Carry On Constable, Carry On Movies, Charles Hawtrey, Comedy, Eric Barker, Gerald Thomas, Hattie Jacques, Joan Hickson, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Kenneth Williams, Leslie Phillips, Shirley Eaton, Sid James, Terence Longdon
Carry On Constable
- Sid James as Sergeant Frank Wilkins
- Kenneth Connor as Constable Charlie Constable
- Leslie Phillips as PC Tom Potter
- Kenneth Williams as PC Stanley Benson
- Charles Hawtrey as Special Constable Timothy Gorse
- Joan Sims as PC Gloria Passworthy
- Hattie Jacques as Sergeant Laura Moon
- Eric Barker as Inspector Mills
- Shirley Eaton as Sally
- Terence Longdon as Herbert Hall
- Joan Hickson as Mrs May
A wacky fourth entry into the comedy series, Carry On Constable spoofs the police force with humour and eventfulness. Sid James joins the cast here and while it’s not classic Carry On, Constable has a lot of things to recommend.
A busy police station is struck by flu, leaving many of the staff unable to work. As the station is already understaffed, it’s difficult to find temporary replacements. They eventually come in the form of fresh out the academy; snobbish and sardonic Stanley Benson, society Lothario Tom Potter and highly superstitious Charlie Constable . Also joining them is the harmless and clumsy Special Constable Timothy Gorse and overly efficient Policewoman Gloria Passworthy. Yet even before the day has really begun, the main trio inadvertently aid robbers in getting away, setting in motion the rest of the day. Assigned to watch them is experienced Sergeant Frank Wilkins, who is under pressure from his superior due to the conditions of the place and repeatedly threatened with a transfer. His hope for something good to happen quickly goes south when the stand ins reveal that they are hopelessly inept and prone to mistakes. Nevertheless, Wilkins perseveres with them as he feels something for them and wants anything to rub the Inspector’s nose in it, yet avoid a transfer. But dealing with this quartet is no easy task as he soon discovers. Let’s just say there’s a whole abundance of mishaps along the way for the stand in coppers, with chaos seeming to happen everywhere they go. But can they all pull together and show some backbone in order for Wilkins to stay at the station?
Gerald Thomas makes the lively events and humour shine through with his customary gift for moving the story along at a riotous pace. Carry On Constable is quite similar to Sergeant, in that the batch of recruits are bumbling and prone to folly. Their antics are comedic and eventful. A few interludes don’t do much and lag, but the overall escapades are in high abundance and ready to gain the laughs from you. Some of the highlights include Charlie bursting into an apartment, only to discover that what he believes to be a murder is actually a radio program, Gorse attempting to rescue a cat from a bell tower and funniest of all, Gorse and snobby Benson dressed in drag to stop criminals, yet cause a lot more trouble when their harebrained idea goes to pot. The double entendres and sauciness is upped, with some fine play on words and the first instance of nudity( shown when the quartet experience a freezing shower and end up stumbling into the cells, much to the dismay of a drunken lady). A rollicking score plays well in time with the comedic occurrences that are around every corner of Carry On Constable.
We get the first appearance of the beloved Sid James. Playing a largely serious man who has to witness the chaos ensuing, James gets in some great laughs as he chafes at his superior and it exasperated by the ineptitude of his new recruits( though warms to them). He’s an authority figure, but a funny one that James plays well in his first outing in the Carry On series. The hilarious Kenneth Connor is on hand to be spooked and a bundle of nervous energy waiting to erupt, when playing the most timid and omen obsessed member of the team. We also have Leslie Phillips, him of the posh voice and wicked smile, as the charming dandy with only ladies on the mind throughout. Kenneth Williams is a right delight; outrageously and amusingly playing the pretentious member of the group, who believes he can spot a criminal from just a look. Such delusions of grandeur and sarcasm are embodied wonderfully by the great gifts of Williams. And of course there is the playful, almost childlike giddiness or Charles Hawtrey to recommend to everyone. Relating to Connor, Phillips, Williams and Hawtrey, you can really feel how comfortable they are in these roles and it shows a lot on screen. I think however that the female cast members are pretty underused in Constable; Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques are both gifted comic actresses, but neither of their roles allows for much of that to come through. It was nice seeing Eric Barker do a gruff and smarmy act as the chief Inspector, who no one has much time for because he doesn’t seem to have a clue about running the station. Shirley Eaton pops up briefly for the glamour and sex appeal, though her and Terence Longdon are not given nearly enough to do to make a dent on the film. Look out for Joan Hickson as a boozy society lady who seems to enjoy getting arrested on a daily basis.
Not vintage Carry On but still a riot of laughter, Carry On Constable has enough comedy and outrageous things to have a ball with.