Dir: Gerald Thomas, 1971
For the Carry On team’s 22nd entry into the much loved franchise, producer Peter Rogers, director Gerald Thomas and writer Talbot Rothwell took a different route to the previous entries, making Carry On At Your Convenience the most, if not political then certainly topical, in the revered series. Although, to be honest, the Carry On films were never big on current affairs.
W.C. Boggs (Kenneth Williams) is the owner of a toilet manufacturers.
However, the union representative, Vic Spanner (Kenneth Cope), is a workshy idler who constantly calls strikes over petty things.
The creative trio behind the classic films, never had any intentions of making statements or righting any wrongs. They were in the entertainment industry and had one job to do; make people laugh.
More often than not, the team succeeded but, with Convenience, things were different.
Tapping into public feelings of the time refused to allow cinemagoers the chance to let themselves go. They couldn’t enter a ridiculous world and forget about their troubles for ninety minutes.
Primarily, the audience that made up the figures of the Carry On films were, predominantly, proletariat.
Being working class in the 1970’s, you were highly likely to be part of a union so, it comes as no surprise, that a film sending up the unions wouldn’t sit well.
You could put a case forward of the filmmakers biting the hand that feeds them.
As a result, Carry On At Your Convenience would become the first box office flop, barely raking back its budget.
But, time waits for no man and progression cannot be stopped. Things are very much different, now, and it’s with hindsight and a contemporary lens that we can see the humour in the film and evaluate it more clearly.
Shamefully misunderstood and overlooked on its debut, the topical tale is tremendous fun with some great lines.
Sid James as the factory foreman, Sid Plummer (a cheap joke but still good), takes more of a back seat for this venture.
The cheeky, womanising character, lusting after worker and neighbour Joan Sims, is there but plays secondary to Cope’s trouble causing Spanner.
With the most screen time, it’s Kenneth Cope’s film despite not receiving top billing.
Much of the saucy humour is substituted for a more down to earth style of comedy. Although it’s very funny, you do miss the jokes of old and the usual expected going on’s. It’s very British humour may not have translated well to other countries, evidenced by the change in the title to Carry On Round The Bend.
It does redeem itself in this respect, when the firm go on the annual work’s outing to Brighton. This presents Sid with the opportunity to honour the time old tradition of dragging up.
Beginning with the theme tune Three Old Ladies Stuck In The Lavatory, the film leaves you in no uncertain terms what to expect.
A fine entry into a hit and miss library of fun, Carry On At Your Convenience is a total joy.