Blake Edwards (director)
02 December 2019 (released)
10 December 2019
Blake Edward’s beloved WW2 comedy, taking place during the Battle of the Philippines, sees Cary Grant and Tony Curtis at loggerheads with each other yet forced to work together in order to restore an obsolete submarine to its former glory.
In 1959, and US Navy Commander Matt Sherman (Cary Grant) steps aboard an old obsolete submarine, the USS Sea Tiger, soon to be shipped direction scrapyard! Sherman begins to read his personal wartime logbook in which he has written down the events which led to the submarine becoming obsolete…
Rewinding to December 1941, a Japanese air raid sinks the Sea Tiger docked at the Cavite Navy Base in the Philippines. Never one to give up, Sherman and his crew immediately go about repairing the sub in the hope to reach Australia before the Japanese claim the port their own. Unfortunately the sub appears to be beyond repair and the Squadron Commodore has no other choice than transferring most of Sherman’s crew to other vessels. However, he trusts Sherman when it comes to his own judgement and gives him fist call with regards to any possible replacements. Enter Junior grade Lieutenant Nick Holden (Tony Curtis), a vain yet charming opportunist who’s never spent as much as one day at sea, in fact he is the adult version of the Artful Dodger. After bamboozling Sherman into announcing him as his new ‘supply manager’ Sherman soon finds out just what Holden’s idea of supply manager is: stealing and squandering supplies left, right and centre together with his ‘personal assistant’ Marine Sergeant Ramon Gallardo (Clarence Lung) who turns out to be an escaped convict – in the slammer for ‘misappropriating’ Navy property. Say what you will, both Holden and Ramon have the knack when it comes to obtaining goods for the Sea Tiger, including high quality toilet paper! After endless days of repairs, the Sea Tiger (barely restored to its former glory) is finally ready to head for unchartered waters, engine barely functioning as Chief Motor Machinist Tostin (Arthur O’Conell) learns the hard way. Holden even arranges for a local witchdoctor to bless the sub prior to departure.
The daily routine on board the sub is jeopardized by Holden’s seemingly never-ending vanity (Curtis clearly having a field day), stretching Sherman’s patience to the limit. He finds his patience even more stretched when Holden arranges for five stranded female Army nurses to be included, much to Sherman’s chagrin who has no other option than give in to Holden’s demands. Soon the machine room is used as an additional laundry room, with bras and stockings dangling from the machinery. Needless to say that romance is in the air between womanizer Holden and Second Lieutenant Barbara Duran (Dina Merrill) while the long-suffering Sherman has his hands full what with keeping his increasingly randy male crew at bay… all the while trying hard not to lose his temper with Second Lieutenant Dolores Crandall (Joan O’Brien) – a modern-day Calamity Jane who inadvertently creates mayhem with every step and every touch… watch out for the pink-coloured submarine!
After all sorts of misadventures we’re then in 1959 again and it transpires that Holden and Barbara Duran have since tied the knot and are proud parents, while Sherman has found happiness (and ever more chaos) with Dolores Crandall.
The jokes may seem a bit on the dated and sexist side but otherwise this light-hearted comedy (now out in Dual format) is a joy to watch, not least thanks to the on-screen chemistry between Grant and Curtis who were pals in real life.