I have no hesitation in stating that Carry On Cabby as THE best of the early 'Carry On' movies, and if pushed I would say that it ranked as one of the best films of the entire series.
I think the main reason why this movie is one of the standouts of the series, was that both Composer Eric Rogers and writer Talbot Rothwell had joined the team, and it was Rothwell's unique brand of humour, that became synonymous with the bawdy risqué type of humour that was to become a trademark of all the future movies, (until 1974's Carry On Dick of course, which became notable for being the final Carry On film for Talbot Rothwell, Sid James, Barbara Windsor and Hattie Jacques). Rogers's music also had a comedy trademark all it's own, with Rogers regularly relying on the bassoon or oboe to good effect when trying to highlight comedic situations.
Jim Dale also appears in his first Carry On film, in a small but hilarious role as an expectant father that turns Sid James's cab into a temporary maternity ward. Dale soon became a mainstay of the team throughout the remainder of the 1960's, usually cast as the male romantic lead previously reserved for either Kenneth Connor or Leslie Phillips.
In 'Cabby' Sid James plays the manager of a local cab firm, who has trouble keeping a healthy balance between his beloved Taxi's and his home life, much to the chagrin of his neglected wife played brilliantly by Hattie Jacques, in what is regarded as her finest Carry On performance and certainly her own personal favourite. In order to teach him a lesson in love, she uses his money to covertly set up her own rival cab firm to pinch his customers, using only sexy female drivers as bait in what is destined to become not only a battle of the taxi's, but a real battle of the sexes.
Amanda Barrie, is cast as one of these 'cabbies in corsets' and on the strength of this performance, I'm sure it came as no surprise to anyone, that she was to be cast as the title character in 'Carry On Cleo', the following year.
Charles Hawtrey turns up as a well meaning but seriously inept and accident prone new recruit to Sid's fleet of drivers, while Kenneth Connor plays Sid's trusty and loyal right hand man. However, in this movie, Connor has his own love life to sort out in the form of Liz Fraser and while both are great in their roles, they do seem a bit mismatched, so I feel that maybe Dilys Laye, (Connor's Love interest in the previous movie 'Carry On Cruising'),would have been more suitable in the part.
Bill Owen also gives a fine performance in what would be his final appearance in the Carry On series. Ironically, soon after completing 'Cabby', Bill Owen and Sid James would virtually reprise their roles in a BBC sitcom called 'Taxi!' playing, cab drivers yet again.
The only thing missing from 'Cabby', is Kenneth Williams, who's absence is very noticeable as this was the first of only a handful of Carry On films in which he would not appear.
Like Watch Your Stern, (made three years previously and starred a myriad of Carry On 'regulars'),Carry On Cabby was not originally slated to be a part of the Carry On series, and was filmed under the working title of 'Call Me A Cab', however, to add some appeal at the box office, it was decided at the last minute to add the 'Carry On' Moniker and make it an official entry. Eric Rogers's music remained unchanged, however, so that's why the films theme tune, if sung, fit's perfectly to the words 'Call Me A Cab', (which incidentally is also Sid's final line in the movie).
For 'Carry On Cabby', Talbot Rothwell had merely adapted a previously written screenplay by Sid Green and Dick Hills (then best known as writers for Morecambe & Wise). It wasn't until the subsequent movies that Rothwell had full creative control of the screenplays which heralded a change of direction for the series, which makes Carry On Cabby, In my opinion, the last of the early Carry On's.
Carry On Cabby may have been the end of the beginning, but it certainly wasn't the beginning of the end.