Ship Ahoy (1942)

94-95 mins | Comedy | May 1942

Director:

Edward Buzzell

Writer:

Harry Clork

Producer:

Jack Cummings

Cinematographers:

Robert Planck, Leonard Smith

Editor:

Blanche Sewell

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The film's working title was I'll Take Manila . According to HR news items, the title was changed "in view of the situation in the Pacific which deflates the value of this pun." The film started production before the United States' entry into World War II. By the time of the film's release, in May 1942, the Philippines had fallen to the Japanese and the destination of the ship in the film was changed from Manila to Puerto Rico. One of the film's songs, "I'll Take Tallulah," was also changed from its original title, "I'll Take Manila." According to various news items in HR , director of photography Robert Planck shot the dance numbers that were added to the film in late Dec 1941. Retakes were shot by Clyde DeVinna, according to HR , which also noted that because both Bert Lahr and Virginia O'Brien were ill, stand-ins had to be used for some insert shots.
       According to various HR news items, the film was originally to co-star Eleanor Powell and Robert Young. In mid-Jul 1941, it was announced that Desi Arnaz was being borrowed from RKO for a role in the film. In Sep 1941, HR stated that Tony Martin was set for a "singing lead" with Powell and Red Skelton. It is possible that the role intended for either Arnaz or Martin was removed from the script, or changed for Frank Sinatra. Although Sinatra sings in the film, he has no dialogue. Another HR news item included Donald McBride in the cast, but he was not in ... More Less

The film's working title was I'll Take Manila . According to HR news items, the title was changed "in view of the situation in the Pacific which deflates the value of this pun." The film started production before the United States' entry into World War II. By the time of the film's release, in May 1942, the Philippines had fallen to the Japanese and the destination of the ship in the film was changed from Manila to Puerto Rico. One of the film's songs, "I'll Take Tallulah," was also changed from its original title, "I'll Take Manila." According to various news items in HR , director of photography Robert Planck shot the dance numbers that were added to the film in late Dec 1941. Retakes were shot by Clyde DeVinna, according to HR , which also noted that because both Bert Lahr and Virginia O'Brien were ill, stand-ins had to be used for some insert shots.
       According to various HR news items, the film was originally to co-star Eleanor Powell and Robert Young. In mid-Jul 1941, it was announced that Desi Arnaz was being borrowed from RKO for a role in the film. In Sep 1941, HR stated that Tony Martin was set for a "singing lead" with Powell and Red Skelton. It is possible that the role intended for either Arnaz or Martin was removed from the script, or changed for Frank Sinatra. Although Sinatra sings in the film, he has no dialogue. Another HR news item included Donald McBride in the cast, but he was not in the released film. Ship Ahoy was Sinatra's first film at M-G-M, the studio at which he was under contract for much of the 1940s, following a brief period of being under contract to RKO. One number shot but not used for the film, "I Fell in Love (With the Leader of the Band)," by Jule Styne and Herb Magidson, was included in M-G-M's 1945 film The Great Morgan (see above). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Apr 1942.
---
Daily Variety
17 Apr 42
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 Apr 42
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Apr 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Nov 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 41
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 42
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 42
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 42
pp. 2-3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 42
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Apr 42
p. 610.
New York Times
26 Jun 42
p. 16.
Variety
22 Apr 42
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
James Cross
and his Orchestra
Bryant Washburn Sr.
Harold Knight
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on a story by
Based on a story by
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Dir of photog for retakes
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Assoc
Mus presentation
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Vocals and orch
Vocals and orch
Vocals and orch
Vocals and orch
Vocals and orch
SOUND
Rec dir
DANCE
Dance dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Hawaiian War Chant (Ta-Hu-Wa-Hu-Wai)" music by Johnny Noble and Leleiohaku
"I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," music by George Bassman
"Processional and Cape Dance" and "Tampico" by Walter Ruick.
SONGS
"Last Call for Love," music and lyrics by Burton Lane, Margery Cummings and E. Y. Harburg
"I'll Take Tallulah" and "Poor You," music and lyrics by Burton Lane and E. Y. Harburg
"Moonlight Bay," music by Percy Wenrich, lyrics by Edward Madden.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
I'll Take Manila
Release Date:
May 1942
Production Date:
11 November 1941--2 February 1942
addl scenes late February 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
23 April 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11271
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
94-95
Length(in feet):
8,530
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8097
SYNOPSIS

Broadway dancer Tallulah Winters is about to sail to Puerto Rico with Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra when she is summoned to the office of Inspector Davis. Davis asks her to perform an important service for the government by taking the most powerful magnetic mine in existence on her voyage, explaining that it cannot fall into enemy hands and she would never be suspected of hiding it. He then gives her half of an old coin and says that she will be contacted onshore by the person with the other half. Unknown to Tallulah, Davis is part of a spy ring headed by Dr. Farno, who devised his plan after reading a dime magazine story written by Merton K. Kibble. Merton, who is a chronic hypochrondriac, is so prolific that he employs three secretaries, but suffers from stress over all of his deadlines. Because his assistant, "Skip" Owens, wants to romance Talullah's assistant, Fran Evans, Skip convinces Merton to take the cruise to Puerto Rico when Merton's doctor refuses to treat his imagined ailments. Onboard ship, Merton and Tallulah meet and are soon attracted to each other. Meanwhile, real government agents H. U. Bennett and his assistant, Art Higgins, receive permission from the ship's captain to search for the missing mine, which they know must be onboard. The night before the ship docks, while attending a costume party, Tallulah demonstrates for Merton that she once used Morse Code for a tap dance in a show. He asks her to tap out "You're wonderful," then tells her he loves her. Later, in his cabin, Merton receives a telegram from his publisher, spurring him ... +


Broadway dancer Tallulah Winters is about to sail to Puerto Rico with Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra when she is summoned to the office of Inspector Davis. Davis asks her to perform an important service for the government by taking the most powerful magnetic mine in existence on her voyage, explaining that it cannot fall into enemy hands and she would never be suspected of hiding it. He then gives her half of an old coin and says that she will be contacted onshore by the person with the other half. Unknown to Tallulah, Davis is part of a spy ring headed by Dr. Farno, who devised his plan after reading a dime magazine story written by Merton K. Kibble. Merton, who is a chronic hypochrondriac, is so prolific that he employs three secretaries, but suffers from stress over all of his deadlines. Because his assistant, "Skip" Owens, wants to romance Talullah's assistant, Fran Evans, Skip convinces Merton to take the cruise to Puerto Rico when Merton's doctor refuses to treat his imagined ailments. Onboard ship, Merton and Tallulah meet and are soon attracted to each other. Meanwhile, real government agents H. U. Bennett and his assistant, Art Higgins, receive permission from the ship's captain to search for the missing mine, which they know must be onboard. The night before the ship docks, while attending a costume party, Tallulah demonstrates for Merton that she once used Morse Code for a tap dance in a show. He asks her to tap out "You're wonderful," then tells her he loves her. Later, in his cabin, Merton receives a telegram from his publisher, spurring him on to work on a new story. As he and Skip are discussing the plot of the story, Tallulah walks by his window and, misinterpreting what he is saying, concludes that Merton is really a cad. The next day, Farno and his cohort, Pietro Polesi, wait for Tallulah on the dock, while Merton goes to her cabin. He is shocked and confused by her strange reaction to him, and when he tries unsuccessfully to talk with her on deck, he accidentally switches suitcases with her. Tallulah then leaves, not knowing that Merton now has the bag with the mine in it. Onshore, as Bennett and Higgins discuss the case with a local government agent, Bennett recognizes a photograph taken of Farno at the dock. Bennett then concludes that it is Farno who has paid for the entertainers to come to Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, in Tallulah's dressing room on Polesi's nightclub ship, Polesi hands her the matching half coin and tells her that her contact is Dr. Farno, who wants her to give him the mine between shows that night. After Polesi leaves, Talluluh goes to get the suitcase with the mine and realizes that she has Merton's case instead of her own. She then sneaks into Merton's room and, following a series of mix-ups with Merton and the house detective, finally gets away with the right case. She gives the mine to Farno, who is concerned when she casually tells him about the mix-up. He then tells Tallulah that Merton, who is just boarding the ship at that moment, is actually a spy. She does not believe Farno and after Skip and Merton are brought to Farno's office, they are imprisoned by one of Farno's thugs. Using a ploy he concocted for a book, Merton soon breaks free, taking Skip with him. As Tallulah prepares for her show, Bennett comes to her with his government badge and she thinks that he is working with Farno, but when Farno's thugs take Bennett prisoner, she begins to realize the truth. Farno plans to dispose of Tallulah, but because the crowd is calling for her, realizes that she must perform, and allows her to go onstage, warning her not to try anything. While she dances, Tallulah uses her Morse Code tap trick to signal an SOS. Higgins, who is in the audience, "reads" the signal, then motions to her to continue. When her message is complete, he signals that he understands, and Merton and Skip, who also realize what Tallulah is doing, help him. They go to Farno's office and after a scuffle, Skip and Merton escape with the mine and enter a lifeboat. With Tallulah's help, they are lowered into the ocean and after rowing for some time, eventually land on an American submarine. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.