You're in the Navy Now (1951)

92-93 mins | Comedy | April 1951

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Flying Teakettle , U.S.S. Teakettle , Here Comes the Fleet and The Floating Teakettle . The picture was reviewed and released in New York under the title U.S.S. Teakettle , but the title was changed to You're in the Navy Now in early Mar 1951. According to a HR news item, the title was changed in the hope that it would "prove more appealing and allow for stronger exploitation."
       After the film's opening credits, a written statement declares: "War is a never-ending series of experiments with equipment, machines and men. Research runs from bombs--atomic, all the way down to pickles--how to package. In the early years of World War II, the Navy Department, among its thousands of other projects, had one known as XP11204." At the film's conclusion, another written statement acknowledges the Navy's help: "It is obvious that this picture could not have been attempted without the cooperation of the Department of Defense and the United States Navy. We wish to express our gratitude to the personnel who so willingly and cheerfully aided us in the making of it."
       John W. Hazard's article was based on his experiences as executive officer and navigator, and later captain, of the PC-452, an experimental submarine chaser tested during World War II. The ship, which was put into commission in Jul 1943, was equipped with "two ultra-modern, experimental steam boilers" and staffed by inexperienced men. Hazard himself was a newspaperman at the time of his appointment to the ship, which became known as The Flying Teakettle . After ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Flying Teakettle , U.S.S. Teakettle , Here Comes the Fleet and The Floating Teakettle . The picture was reviewed and released in New York under the title U.S.S. Teakettle , but the title was changed to You're in the Navy Now in early Mar 1951. According to a HR news item, the title was changed in the hope that it would "prove more appealing and allow for stronger exploitation."
       After the film's opening credits, a written statement declares: "War is a never-ending series of experiments with equipment, machines and men. Research runs from bombs--atomic, all the way down to pickles--how to package. In the early years of World War II, the Navy Department, among its thousands of other projects, had one known as XP11204." At the film's conclusion, another written statement acknowledges the Navy's help: "It is obvious that this picture could not have been attempted without the cooperation of the Department of Defense and the United States Navy. We wish to express our gratitude to the personnel who so willingly and cheerfully aided us in the making of it."
       John W. Hazard's article was based on his experiences as executive officer and navigator, and later captain, of the PC-452, an experimental submarine chaser tested during World War II. The ship, which was put into commission in Jul 1943, was equipped with "two ultra-modern, experimental steam boilers" and staffed by inexperienced men. Hazard himself was a newspaperman at the time of his appointment to the ship, which became known as The Flying Teakettle . After many unsuccessful trial runs, some of which ended in near-disaster, the ship was de-commissioned in Dec 1944.
       The Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, reveal that Richard Sale and Mary Loos prepared an adaptation of Hazard's story in early Mar 1950, although their work was not incorporated into the completed screenplay. According to a Mar 1950 HR news item, the picture was originally to star William Lundigan. Although a Dec 1950 HR news item includes John Dugan in the cast, his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. Contemporary sources note that portions of the picture were shot on location at Newport News and Norfolk, VA. Although HR production charts credit Robert Fritch as the film's editor, only James B. Clark is listed in the picture's onscreen credits. According to a Jun 1954 memo in the legal records, the film had a net loss of $122,000. The picture marked the screen debuts of actors Lee Marvin (1924--1987), Jack Warden (1920--2006) and Charles Bronson (1920--2003), who was known as Charles Buchinski at the time.
       In Mar 1953, author Arthur Curtis filed a $100,000 lawsuit against the studio, claiming infringement upon the title of his 1944 novel Hey, Mac! You're in the Navy Now . In Jul 1953, a Superior Court jury ruled in favor of Twentieth Century-Fox. Curtis appealed the decision, but the studio again received a favorable judgment in Apr 1956 from the California District Court of Appeals. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Feb 1951.
---
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1951.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jul 1954.
---
Film Daily
23 Feb 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
12 Apr 1951.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 50
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Sep 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Oct 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 50
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Oct 50
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 50
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 50
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 51
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 53
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 53
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 1954
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 56
p. 8.
Look
8 May 1951.
---
Motion Picture Daily
23 Feb 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald
24 Feb 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Mar 51
pp. 742-43.
New York Times
24 Feb 51
p. 11.
Time
12 Mar 1951.
---
Variety
28 Feb 51
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the article "The Flying Teakettle" by John W. Hazard in The New Yorker (21 Jan 1950).
MUSIC
"Anchors Aweigh," music by Charles A. Zimmerman.
SONGS
"Sailing, Sailing over the Bounding Main," music and lyrics by Godfrey Marks
"The Old Grey Mare," music arranged by Frank Panella, lyrics possibly by Gus Bailey, based on J. Warner's "Down in Alabam."
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Here Comes the Fleet
The Floating Teakettle
The Flying Teakettle
U.S.S. Teakettle
Release Date:
April 1951
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 23 February 1951
Los Angeles opening: 11 April 1951
Production Date:
began 23 October 1950
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
23 February 1951
Copyright Number:
LP943
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
92-93
Length(in feet):
8,347
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14921
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

During World War II, Rear Adm. L. E. Tennant, the head of the Navy's Experimental Research Division, urges his subordinate, Commander Tom Reynolds, to choose a captain for the Navy's latest secret project, a submarine chaser with a steam engine designed to increase speed. Unable to find a captain with both engineering and sea experience, Reynolds gives the command to Lt. John Harkness, a Navy reserve officer who obtained an engineering degree eighteen years earlier. At the Norfolk Naval Base, Harkness bids goodbye to his wife Ellie, who has joined the WAVES. Harkness is dismayed to see the size of his tiny craft compared to the hulking ships moored around it, but hides his nervousness when meeting his officers, Lt. Bill Barron, Ensign Anthony Barbo and Ensign Chuck Dorrance. Believing that Harkness is "regular Navy" like himself, Bosun George Larrabee is horrified to discover later that Harkness is actually a "ninety-day wonder" like the other college-educated officers, who have had no sea duty. The port commander yells at Harkness to move his ship, and after memorizing a seamanship book, Harkness gives a succession of orders to his crew. Despite Harkness' efforts, the crew, including Chief Engineer Ryan, who is used to diesel engines, cannot manage the temperamental steam engine and the craft plows into another ship. Annoyed by Harkness' failure, Reynolds reminds him and the other officers of their training, and of the importance of proving the efficiency of their ship. However, the boiler, which converts salt water into distilled water, explodes during the first trial run, stranding the ship, which does not even have enough power to operate the radio. After the humiliation of ... +


During World War II, Rear Adm. L. E. Tennant, the head of the Navy's Experimental Research Division, urges his subordinate, Commander Tom Reynolds, to choose a captain for the Navy's latest secret project, a submarine chaser with a steam engine designed to increase speed. Unable to find a captain with both engineering and sea experience, Reynolds gives the command to Lt. John Harkness, a Navy reserve officer who obtained an engineering degree eighteen years earlier. At the Norfolk Naval Base, Harkness bids goodbye to his wife Ellie, who has joined the WAVES. Harkness is dismayed to see the size of his tiny craft compared to the hulking ships moored around it, but hides his nervousness when meeting his officers, Lt. Bill Barron, Ensign Anthony Barbo and Ensign Chuck Dorrance. Believing that Harkness is "regular Navy" like himself, Bosun George Larrabee is horrified to discover later that Harkness is actually a "ninety-day wonder" like the other college-educated officers, who have had no sea duty. The port commander yells at Harkness to move his ship, and after memorizing a seamanship book, Harkness gives a succession of orders to his crew. Despite Harkness' efforts, the crew, including Chief Engineer Ryan, who is used to diesel engines, cannot manage the temperamental steam engine and the craft plows into another ship. Annoyed by Harkness' failure, Reynolds reminds him and the other officers of their training, and of the importance of proving the efficiency of their ship. However, the boiler, which converts salt water into distilled water, explodes during the first trial run, stranding the ship, which does not even have enough power to operate the radio. After the humiliation of being towed back to shore by a battleship, Harkness is further irritated by Reynolds, who declares that the crew will receive no shore leave until a successful trial run is completed. With his ship jokingly christened the U.S.S. Teakettle , Harkness grimly sets about his task, although a series of trial runs proves disastrous. The ship's erratic performance makes the crew the butt of many jokes, and after tough sailor Wascylewski gets into a fight, Harkness and his officers realize that they must boost morale. Harkness arranges for the men to have shore leave, but their dispirited attitude prompts him to enter Wascylewski in the base boxing tournament. As the days pass, the crew enthusiastically watches Wascylewski's training, and Harkness arranges to place an $1,800 bet for them. The crew becomes depressed, however, when they realize that the next trial is scheduled for the day of the fight, and that if they again get stranded, Wascylewski will not be able to compete. Unknown to Harkness, the men bring aboard distilled water and the run is successful, although Wascylewski is injured during the trial and cannot fight. Harkness discovers the water bottles and attempts to report the truth to Reynolds, but the commander is too busy congratulating him to listen. Harkness is dismayed to learn from Ellie that Tennant and the rest of the research board will be coming to Norfolk soon to put the Teakettle through its paces. Fearing that the men will be too upset after losing the bet to complete the run, Harkness is astonished when he returns to the ship and learns that the crew has won their wager, for Barbo entered the fight under Wascylewski's name and trounced his opponent. The next day, Tennant and Reynolds are bewildered by the lengths to which the crew must go to make the juryrigged steam engine run. The voyage fails, however, when the ship smashes into an aircraft carrier after the throttles freeze open. Later, Harkness is summoned before a board of inquiry, and he angrily complains that the inexperienced crew members were incapable of operating the intricate machinery, despite their sincere efforts, and that if the Navy wanted the experiment to succeed, it would have staffed the ship with experienced men. Tennant then explains that the Navy does not have time to train all of its reserves during wartime, and needs to ensure that new equipment can be operated by new sailors. Tennant compliments Harkness on his men's efforts and gives him a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy. Soon after, the men cheer as a diesel engine is fitted into the Teakettle , and prepare to join a convoy of ships bound for sea duty. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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