Baby You Can Drive My Car – Stanley Long’s ‘Adventures of a Taxi Driver’ (1976)

28 May

‘Every major international city has that most popular means of transport; the taxi… Perhaps most popular for the personal service it provides’. It is this opening line that describes Stanley Long’s 1976 feature so aptly. These are the Adventures of a Taxi Driver.

After a delightful montage of 1970s London, taxi drivers and beautiful women (a sequence montage-King Russ Meyer would be jealous of) we are introduced to our hard-working cabbie Joe (Barry Evans). Like many of us, Joe has bad days at work and things don’t get better for him when he returns home. His mother (Diana Dors) is all floral pinafore and coiffed hair, with a Saarf Landan accent screaming ‘Awlright’ and ‘Nuffink’. His brother Peter is a thief and his little sister appears to be one letter away from turning into Damien.

No wonder Joe relishes his day job, and so the first adventure begins… He picks up a pretty but glum looking lass who wants to be taken to Lambeth Bridge. As any observant taxi driver would, he happily summarises that the girl is probably upset because she hasn’t had any the night before. Once at the bridge she tries to jump into the Thames and Joe manages to talk her down and drive her home. There they waste no time in undressing and getting vertical, only to be interrupted by the girl’s husband. Turns out she pulls this stunt quite frequently, picking different bridges in London each time, and was upset that her husband forgot her birthday. As most women would be.

Returning home, Joe decides to pack his things and leave after finding his room stuffed with stolen Sony goods. Before he can get away, we get to meet his fantastic fiance Carol with her over-bleached pixie crop and garish make up. Carol is very possessive and wants to know everything, full of ideas with no common sense. My idea of a nightmare. She’s almost as scary as the humping rabbits in Cinderella 2000… After an excruciating conversation with her, Joe manages to blag his way into staying at his friend Tom’s flat (a young Robert Lindsay) with Tom’s new stripper girlfriend Nikki (the always gorgeous Judy Geeson).

Deciding to concentrate on earning money, we get to see all the other adventures that Joe has in his taxi cab. He seduces a waitress into bed with the immortal line ‘You have the most wonderful breasts I’ve ever seen’ (I wonder how many times that line has been used by men over the years…) only for Nikki’s pet snake to find its way into the bed and stop any proceedings from happening. Next stop is delivering a parcel and sleeping with its receiver. Then it’s onto a game of spin the bottle and an attempt to bed Nikki’s stripper friend Helga. After that, he gets in on with another passenger whose house he has to break into. She rewards him with a steamy bubble bath that keeps getting interrupted by her husband and poor Joe has to hold his breath and hide underwater for most of it…

Next is this funny cab ride in which Joe gets taken for an absolute mug.

Later that night he picks up regular passenger Mandy, a prostitute, and her client. After exclaiming that ‘Anything that’s around I seem to pick up’, she dutifully gives her client a blow job in the back seat, only for Joe to do an emergency stop. Cue one major squirm from the client, a shot of the poster for Jaws and another shot of an ambulance driving away. Ouch.

Joe’s luck doesn’t get any better when he picks up Bunny McQueen. This video isn’t great but it’s nearly the whole scene. It ends in Joe finding out the very obvious truth and wondering whether ‘I could have him under the Trade Descriptions Act?’

Joe then manages to get kidnapped again. Except this time he’s accidentally found himself involved in a real jewellery heist that his friends have arranged.

Whilst trying to sort out their alibi, Joe’s younger brother appears and has been involved in it all along too! Turns out he’s moved on from stealing washing powder and Sony goods to bigger and better things… The Police and Carol arrive at the flat to interrogate the men, only they get more than they bargained for when Carol starts to interrogate them instead. After hiding the stolen jewels in Nikki’s snake basket, her trustworthy pet decides to slither out and exposes the jewellery for all to see. In the end we find out that Joe was let off with a caution and is now living back at home. He goes to start his morning grind and picks up the first passenger from the start of the film, asking her ‘Which bridge do you want this time?’.

Adventures of a Taxi Driver isn’t a bad British sex comedy, I surprisingly found it far more watchable than Come Play With Me. The humour plot and the sexual scenes are weaved together well which means the film is rarely jarring. If anything it comes across dated but then it was released in 1976 so you wouldn’t expect much less. Director Stanley Long went on to direct a trilogy of Adventure films with Adventures of a Private Eye and Adventures of a Plumbers Mate released in the two years following. Lead actor Barry Evans would eventually find acting roles drying up for him and ended his life as a taxi driver in Leicestershire. In 1997 he was found dead at home. Judy Geeson was already cropping up in films regularly by 1976 and would continue to star in films throughout the next decade. Most British audiences will recognise Robert Lindsay who, aside from a varied acting career in television and on stage, played Ben Harper in My Family.

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