Sid James and Hattie Jacques in Carry on Constable (1960)

It's a Carry on Fair Cop

With a flu epidemic putting people in bed, three Police men fresh from training college find themselves assigned to Sergeant Wilkins (Carry on The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw). Along with Special Constable Gorse (Charles Hawtrey - Carry on Teacher) these new constables try to do their best to do what they are told but constantly end up messing up giving Sergeant Wilkins a headache as his superior Inspector Mills (Eric Barker - Carry on Sergeant) wants to transfer him out.

I've said it before but I have to say it again, the earlier "Carry On" movies are some of the best as they are good all round fun rather than just comedies which deliver sexual innuendo. And "Carry on Constable" is a good example of why these earlier "Carry On" movies are definitely superior to those bawdy comedies which many people think of when you mention the words "Carry On". Of course it doesn't have the most amazing of storylines and features many of the "Carry On" stalwarts including Sid James in his first "Carry On" role but the variety of comedy and for the most its innocence is what makes "Carry on Constable" a fun comedy.

Leslie Phillips and Kenneth Connor in Carry on Constable (1960)

So as already mentioned the storyline to "Carry on Constable" isn't that amazing and to be honest you don't really expect it to be being a "Carry On" movie but it is enough. You can sum it up by saying incompetent junior cops makes a mess of everything causing their immediate senior to stress especially as his superior is looking for an excuse to get rid of him. There is little else to it than that and whilst it starts with a flu epidemic it is only there as a way for these junior and inexperienced cops to find themselves on the beat. What follows on from there is predictable in a "Carry On" sense of the words as there is romance, accidents, mistakes and just about anything else you would expect as one set piece follows another. But it doesn't matter because whilst "Carry on Constable" feels like it is built on set pieces they all relate back to the issues at the police station and combine nicely for a good old fashioned, everything sorts itself out in the end ending.

But the thing is that whilst "Carry on Constable" is a movie of set pieces they are all for the most funny. The slapstick of say Sid James as Sergeant Frank Wilkins getting drenched or Charles Hawtrey as P.C. Timothy Gorse being ever so camp maybe obvious but it makes you smile. And in the same way watching Leslie Phillips as P.C. Tom Potter flirt with pretty much anything in a skirt is just as wonderful and all very innocent. That is the thing, for the most "Carry on Constable" is innocent good fun and whilst there are some moments of innuendo and an amusing scene which ends up with Leslie Phillips, Kenneth Connor and Kenneth Williams barely covered by towels it is not the over the top sex comedies which the "Carry On" movies ended up becoming.

A knock on effect of the comedy being more varied is that whilst there are many of the "Carry On" stalwarts cast none of them are really the centre of attention. Basically each get their moments so we get amusement from the overly superstitious Kenneth Connor as P.C. Charlie Constable who falls for W.P.C. Gloria Passworthy played by the lovely Joan Sims. But at the same time we get scenes featuring the stressed Sergeant Frank Wilkins played by Sid James as he deals with not only incompetent officers but an equally incompetent superior. What is nice is as where in the later "Carry On" movies you would associate Sid James playing the almost dirty old man there is none of that persona in "Carry on Constable" except for maybe one brief innocuous moment.

What this all boils down to is that like so many of these earlier "Carry On" movies "Carry on Constable" is a joy to watch. It may have a slim storyline and play almost like a collection of set piece gags but it works and has an innocent charm about it which makes every single scene a smile moment.

Tags: Carry On Movies