Cast: Cary Grant (Adm. Matt Sherman), Tony Curtis (Lt. Nick Holden),
Joan O'Brien (Lt. Dolores Crandall), Dina Merrill (Lt. Barbara Duran),
Gene Evans (Molumphrey), Arthur O'Connell (Tostin), Richard Sargent (Stoval),
Virginia Gregg (Major Edna Hayward), Robert F Simon (Henderson),
Robert Gist (Watson), Gavin MacLeod (Hunkle), George Dunn (The
Prophet), Dick Crockett (Harmon), Madlyn Rhue (Lt Claire Reid), Marion
Ross (Lt Ruth Colfax), Clarence E Lung (Ramon), Frankie Darro
(Dooley), Tony Pastor Jr (Fox), Robert How (Reiner), Nicky Blair
(Kraus), John W Morley (Williams)
- by Zoë
Sherman's submarine is badly
damaged while anchored near Manila, but he is determined to sail his ship
again. They dock the sub in the nearest dry dock, Port Darwin. They get the
ship on its way, but at the first stop they have to take some ladies on
board. These ladies cause problems with the running of the sub....
- by Laila
This is a movie you can see again and again and never get
tired of it. In this 124 minutes you have everything you may desire from a great piece of
entertainment: an improbable story of a pink submarine on its way home; more than one
bombing and a sinking; a bit of a true old-fashioned romance between the crew and the
rescued women; the New Year's Eve on the deck of a submarine; a great director; Tony
Curtis; and Cary Grant at his best. Blake Edwards is skilled enough to manage a
more-funny- than-silly story and take the best from his actors. (He'll use this experience
to make his masterpiece, "The Pink Panther".) Tony Curtis is quite a bit younger
than Grant and as the movie goes, you can feel and see the admiration for the
"older", drawing-room acrobat. Cary Grant is, once again, a master in getting a
laugh without any speech, using just the way he moves and looks, as he did in "The
Awful Truth" or "Arsenic and Old Lace." When the movie ends, you'll
probably think that as soon as there will be another 124 minutes, I'll watch it again.
Film Review - September 30, 1959
- by "Powe"
by Barry Martin
Already set as the Radio City Music
Hall's Christmas attraction, Universal's "Operation
Petticoat" is a slick holiday attraction that will attract
top boxoffice. It has no more weight than a sackful of
feathers, but it has a lot of laughs and the kind of situations
that create good word-of-mouth. The stars, Cary Grant and
Tony Curtis, are excellent. Produced by Robert Arthur, the
film has been directed by Blake Edwards with a slam-bang pace.
Comedies about the armed services,
especially when the setting is wartime, ask a certain suspension
of reality. "Operation Petticoat" demands total
suspension. The time is December, 1941, and the locale is
the Philippines. For anyone old enough to remember what was
going on there just 18 years ago, it is not the ideal setting for
tricks and jokes. It might have been better to use
fictitious place names, as Tom Heggen did in "Mr.
Accepting this convention, however,
that there can be comedy in chaos, Stanley Shapiro and Maurice
Richlin (who wrote "Pillow Talk") have taken a story by
Paul King and Joseph Stone and made a bright, diverting script of
it. This team is equally good at a comedy line or a gag
Cary Grant is the commander of a
wheezy old submarine which he gets underway and operational
through his conniving junior officer, Tony Curtis. In a
series of improbably but acceptable situations, the sub takes on
as passengers five army nurses, a couple Filipino families
(including expectant mothers) and a goat. Some of the
situations are predictable, such as those arising when chesty
nurses meet seamen in a sub's narrow corridors. But Edwards'
direction is light-handed and what risqué material there is gets
For some reason, "Operation
Petticoat" is shot with an opening and closing
flashback. The comedy runs more than two hours and could be
cut. These scenes don't mean much, although otherwise the
film is rich in humorous device and most of it plays well.
Cary Grant is a living lesson in
getting laughs without lines. In this film, most of the gags
play off him. It is his reaction, blank, startled, etc.,
always underplayed, that creates or releases humor. Tony
Curtis is a splendid foil, one of the two or three best young
comedians around, and his different style of playing meshes easily
with Grant's. Arthur O'Connell gives a solid performance and
others who score include Joan O'Brien, Dina Merrill, Gene Evans
and Dick Sargent.
David Rose's score is especially
bright, helping the comedy without getting coy. Russell
Harlan's Eastman color photography is top-drawer and other
technical credits are fine.
TIMES Film Review - December 6, 1959
- by Bosley Crowther
by Barry Martin
The assertion of those "South Pacific" Seabees that
there is "nothing like a dame" to occupy the interests
of men plagued by the tediousness of war is frantically
illustrated in the Music Hall's Christmas-show film,
"Operation Petticoat," which opened there
yesterday. Along with the annual "Nativity"
tableaux and the Columbus Boy-choir on the stage, it will edify
audiences in that area until after the holidays.
The thesis is aptly demonstrated:
Five shapely Army nurses are placed in a Navy submarine already
crowded with an aggressively masculine crew that is trying hard to
work it from the Philippines to Australia in the first few weeks
of World War II. Comdr. Cary Grant has grave
misgivings. He's glad to save the nurses, if he can.
"It's just that a submarine is not designed to be
co-educational," he explains.
And that is the obvious
complication upon which are pointedly based at least 60 per cent
of the witticisms and sight gags in the film. How to berth
the nurses in the exceedingly limited space, how to explain to
them the functioning of the bathroom facilities, how to compel the
sailors to keep their well-diverted minds on their work - these
are the endless petty problems that vex Commander Grant.
There's the matter of Lieutenant
Crandall. She has a particularly interesting shape, which
she cannot conceal completely in a borrowed shirt and jeans.
Commander Grant issues a stern order. "When Lieutenant
Crandall walks through any part of this boat, see that she gets
free passage." The order is not too dutifully obeyed.
So it goes for nigh on two
hours. There is more than a Japanese blockade to be run by
the crippled Sea Tiger before she can get back in the war.
And when Commander Grant isn't
worrying about his quintet of passengers he is usually concerned
with the activities of one of his junior officers. Often he
has to tussle with both problems at the same time. The
junior officer is played by Tony Curtis and he is full of
elaborate ideas. Fortunately this young fellow, like Luther
Billis, has ability to scrounge, and it is this, plus phenomenal
ingenuity on the part of the engineer and scriptwriters, that get
the Sea Tiger home.
If the passage becomes repetitious
and a trifle monotonous, indeed, blame it on the self-intoxication
of the writers and Director Blake Edwards. They were
evidently rendered more giggly by the gags than is the
audience. The situation is not sufficient for extension over
two hours, despite the personableness of the actors and the
prettiness of the color film.
Mr. Grant, Mr. Curtis, Arthur
O'Connell and Gene Evans are brisk among the males, and Dina
Merrill, Joan O'Brien, Madlyn Rhue, Virginia Gregg and Marion Ross
make cozy girls.
There may be a certain sound of
crudeness about this Universal - International comedy, but we
assure you there's nothing in it that will shock or surprise a
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
found this interesting website about Key West and there is a
lot of information and photographs about the filming of
'Operation Petticoat' I have attached my favourite
photograph from that website. You might recall the story of
the little girl who got a small part in the movie but was
very upset when she found out she had to wear rags.
Apparently Cary heard about it and bought her a little pink
dress and attached is the photograph to prove it.
I enjoyed reading about the
background to Mr Blandings on carygrant.net so maybe you
might be able to use some of the information on this website
about Operation Petticoat. Here is the link:
Dorothy, you are such a
treasure to CaryGrant.net!! You find the most delicious
tidbits! Thanks for all your invaluable help with the site!!
<< Back to Reviews | Top of Page