Sailor Beware (1952)

102 or 104 mins | Comedy | February 1952

Director:

Hal Walker

Producer:

Hal B. Wallis

Cinematographer:

Daniel L. Fapp

Editor:

Warren Low

Production Designers:

Hal Pereira, Henry Bumstead
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was At Sea with the Navy , and a pre-release title was Nancy from Naples . Onscreen credits include the following written acknowledgment: "Parts of this motion picture were photographed aboard United States Naval vessels and in Naval shore installations. We are sincerely grateful to the United States Navy and the Department of Defense for making this possible." According to a Jan 1951 LAT news item, producer Hal Wallis conceived Sailor Beware as a sequel to Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin's hit film At War with the Army , which was released generally by Paramount in 1951 (see above entry). Kenyon Nicholson and Charles Robinson's play Sailor, Beware! , which Paramount had owned for many years, is not mentioned in pre-production news items as the story's source and may not have been the original inspiration for the film. The Var reviewer described the film as a "cleaned-up version of the stage hit" and commented that "only a thread of that original" was contained in the script. According to the NYT review, the only aspect of the play retained in the film was the "business toward the end when it is bet that Mr. Lewis can't kiss Corinne Calvet."
       Sailor Beware marked the screen debut of James Dean. According to modern sources, Lewis gave Dean his role, which included one line of dialogue. HR news items announced Richard Blaydon, Richard Benedict, Willie Davis, John Indrisano and Robert Board as cast members, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. News items ... More Less

The working title of this film was At Sea with the Navy , and a pre-release title was Nancy from Naples . Onscreen credits include the following written acknowledgment: "Parts of this motion picture were photographed aboard United States Naval vessels and in Naval shore installations. We are sincerely grateful to the United States Navy and the Department of Defense for making this possible." According to a Jan 1951 LAT news item, producer Hal Wallis conceived Sailor Beware as a sequel to Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin's hit film At War with the Army , which was released generally by Paramount in 1951 (see above entry). Kenyon Nicholson and Charles Robinson's play Sailor, Beware! , which Paramount had owned for many years, is not mentioned in pre-production news items as the story's source and may not have been the original inspiration for the film. The Var reviewer described the film as a "cleaned-up version of the stage hit" and commented that "only a thread of that original" was contained in the script. According to the NYT review, the only aspect of the play retained in the film was the "business toward the end when it is bet that Mr. Lewis can't kiss Corinne Calvet."
       Sailor Beware marked the screen debut of James Dean. According to modern sources, Lewis gave Dean his role, which included one line of dialogue. HR news items announced Richard Blaydon, Richard Benedict, Willie Davis, John Indrisano and Robert Board as cast members, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. News items indicate that scenes were shot in San Diego, CA, and at the Naval Station in Long Beach, CA. According to a ParNews item, the submarine used in the picture was the U.S.S. Bashow . Copyright publicity material includes "Say Si Si," "Jingle, Jangle, Jingle" and "Motoras Rahi" in the film's song roster, but those numbers were not sung in the viewed print. According to modern sources, the boxing scene was "written" by Lewis, who demanded an extra $50,000 for it, which he then donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Modern sources also note that Sailor Beware was the first Martin and Lewis picture to be dubbed into French. Lewis became a comic favorite among French critics.
       Paramount produced two earlier versions of Nicholson and Robinson's play: In 1936, Theodore Reed directed Lew Ayres and Mary Carlisle in Lady Be Careful (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ); and in 1942, Victor Schertzinger directed Dorothy Lamour and William Holden in The Fleet's In , which was based on the play and a 1928 Paramount film, also titled The Fleet's In (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 and 1941-50 ). Betty Hutton, who had an unbilled role as "Hetty Button" in Sailor Beware , also appeared in the 1942 version. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Dec 1951.
---
Daily Variety
29 Nov 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Nov 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 51
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 51
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 51
pp. 3-4.
Los Angeles Times
27 Jan 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Dec 51
p. 1125.
New York Times
31 Jan 52
p. 23.
New York Times
1 Feb 1952
p. 17.
Newsweek
10 Mar 1952.
---
Time
18 Feb 1952.
---
Variety
5 Dec 51
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Vincent Edwards
Bobby Mayo
Dick Clayton
Chuck Hamilton
Charles Latorre
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Ed supv
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Sailor, Beware! by Kenyon Nicholson and Charles Robinson (New York, 28 Sep 1933).
SONGS
"Never Before," "Merci Beaucoup," "The Old Calliope," "The Sailors' Polka" and "Today-Tomorrow-Forever," words and music by Mack David and Jay Livingston.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
At Sea with the Navy
Nancy from Naples
Release Date:
February 1952
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 24 January 1952
New York opening: 31 January 1952
Production Date:
early September--mid October 1951
addl scene began late October 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Wallis-Hazen, Inc.
Copyright Date:
4 December 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1495
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
102 or 104
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15605
SYNOPSIS

At a Navy recruiting station, bumbling, allergy-plagued Melvin Jones meets Al Crowther, a handsome crooner and ladies' man. Al is applying for the eleventh time because he likes the attention that women, like entertainer Hetty Button, his latest conquest, give him when they think he is about to ship out, but is sure his trick knee will prevent him from passing the Navy's physical exam. To Melvin's and Al's surprise, the Navy passes them both and sends them to a training camp in San Diego, along with Petty Officer Lardoski, a bully whom Al and Melvin have already antagonized. At camp, Melvin is terrified at having his blood drawn during the routine physical and runs into Red Cross nurse Hilda Jones's office to hide. Unknown to Melvin, Hilda mans the local blood bank and assumes he has come to donate. After Melvin gives blood to please Hilda, who is attractive to him because she wears little makeup, something to which he is violently allergic, he is forced back to the physical, but baffles the staff with his now-bloodless veins. Later, the men are trained in ship procedures, and Melvin manages to sink his rowboat. As punishment, Lardoski cancels all of the recruits' liberty, but when Al is asked to sing on a television show as a Navy representative, he agrees on condition that liberty be reinstated. Lardoski gives in, and on his way into town, Melvin meets Hilda and invites her to watch Al perform. At the television station, Al and Melvin end up singing together, and Melvin is cajoled into judging a kissing contest sponsored by the "Tempting Kiss" cosmetics company, the ... +


At a Navy recruiting station, bumbling, allergy-plagued Melvin Jones meets Al Crowther, a handsome crooner and ladies' man. Al is applying for the eleventh time because he likes the attention that women, like entertainer Hetty Button, his latest conquest, give him when they think he is about to ship out, but is sure his trick knee will prevent him from passing the Navy's physical exam. To Melvin's and Al's surprise, the Navy passes them both and sends them to a training camp in San Diego, along with Petty Officer Lardoski, a bully whom Al and Melvin have already antagonized. At camp, Melvin is terrified at having his blood drawn during the routine physical and runs into Red Cross nurse Hilda Jones's office to hide. Unknown to Melvin, Hilda mans the local blood bank and assumes he has come to donate. After Melvin gives blood to please Hilda, who is attractive to him because she wears little makeup, something to which he is violently allergic, he is forced back to the physical, but baffles the staff with his now-bloodless veins. Later, the men are trained in ship procedures, and Melvin manages to sink his rowboat. As punishment, Lardoski cancels all of the recruits' liberty, but when Al is asked to sing on a television show as a Navy representative, he agrees on condition that liberty be reinstated. Lardoski gives in, and on his way into town, Melvin meets Hilda and invites her to watch Al perform. At the television station, Al and Melvin end up singing together, and Melvin is cajoled into judging a kissing contest sponsored by the "Tempting Kiss" cosmetics company, the first prize of which is a trip to Honolulu. Because of his allergies, Melvin cannot stand being near the eager, made-up participants and dashes out of the studio. The women pursue him into another studio, where bathing suit models, including a girl Lardoski fancies, are strutting for the cameras. Lardoski's girl kisses Melvin, to the consternation of Lardoski, who is watching the broadcast in a bar. Melvin finally is cornered outside the television station and kisses Hilda to end the contest. Despite being named the winner, Hilda is furious at Melvin for allowing dozens of women to kiss him, and storms away. Barely able to breathe, Melvin is carted off to the base hospital, and during his recuperation, Al and the other recruits bet Lardoski that Melvin can procure a kiss from French movie star Corinne Calvet, who is performing in Honolulu, where they are being shipped. Later, after Melvin reluctantly agrees to try to win the bet, Al breaks the news that their ship is a submarine. At sea, the claustrophic Melvin creates havoc in the cramped quarters and is assigned to swab the deck as punishment. When the commander orders a routine dive, Melvin is left topside and has to climb the conning tower to keep from drowning before being rescued. Upon docking in Honolulu, the recruits are given shore leave and scurry to the hotel nightclub where Corinne is singing. There, Melvin runs into Hilda, who is still mad at him. After the sailor-hating Corinne rejects Lardoski's advances, Melvin tries unsuccessfully to woo her at her table. Melvin then gets into a confrontation with another sailor who makes a pass at Corinne, and the recreation supervisor decides to pair the two in a boxing match. Before the fight, Al encourages the terrified Melvin to think like a real boxer, and when his opponent hears Melvin talking like a tough professional, he panics and asks his brother, Killer Jackson, to fill in. To Melvin's horror, Jackson is a seasoned pro, but Melvin lands a couple of lucky punches and knocks him out. Aware that Lardoski has ordered the shore patrol to apprehend him before he finds Corinne at a beach luau, Melvin sneaks out of the gym and disguises himself as a rickshaw driver. Al, meanwhile, sings a romantic ballad at the luau, and when Corinne hears him, she starts to fall for him. As Al is about to kiss Corinne, her secretary interrupts to reveal that the sailors have made a bet that one of them will kiss the star. Assuming that Al is the sailor, Corinne leaves, disgusted. Melvin then dresses up like a male hula dancer to elude Lardoski and the shore patrol, but is identified when his grass skirt falls off, revealing his sailor pants. After a brief but frantic chase, Lardoski corners Melvin, but Corinne intercedes, believing the skinny sailor is an innocent boy. Corinne kisses Melvin on the cheek, and Melvin declares that he has won the bet. Vindicated, Al makes up with Corinne, while Hilda finally forgives Melvin. When they return to the San Diego pier, however, Hetty is waiting and overhears Al giving Corinne his standard farewell line. After Hetty angrily accuses Al of two-timing her, Al runs away and is joined by the devoted Melvin. +

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

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