The Lieutenant Wore Skirts (1956)

99 mins | Comedy | January 1956

Director:

Frank Tashlin

Producer:

Buddy Adler

Cinematographer:

Leo Tover

Editor:

James B. Clark

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Leland Fuller

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Mr. Retread , The Camp Follower and I Lost My Wife to the Army . Several reviews misspell Jean Willes's name as "Joan." According to a HR news item, the production was shelved in Mar 1955, just after the studio decided to use the CinemaScope process. The shelved version was to have been produced by Leonard Goldstein and directed by Henry Levin. Clifton Webb was to star. Although HR news items place Heidi Duval and Tom Ewell's son Tate Ewell in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. A Sep 1955 HR news item adds that location shooting took place at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
       The scene in which "Sandra Roberts," the upstairs neighbor, tells "Gregory Whitcomb" that their situation reminds her of the movie about a girl who would visit her downstairs neighbor to "air-condition herself while his wife was away," refers to the 1955 Twentieth Century-Fox release The Seven Year Itch (see below) in which Ewell played the downstairs neighbor and Marilyn Monroe was the girl upstairs. A Sep 1956 HR news item notes that Kathleen and Herbert Faber sued Fox, claiming that The Lieutenant Wore Skirts plagiarized their scenario titled Hero , which they had submitted to the studio in 1950. The outcome of that suit is ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Mr. Retread , The Camp Follower and I Lost My Wife to the Army . Several reviews misspell Jean Willes's name as "Joan." According to a HR news item, the production was shelved in Mar 1955, just after the studio decided to use the CinemaScope process. The shelved version was to have been produced by Leonard Goldstein and directed by Henry Levin. Clifton Webb was to star. Although HR news items place Heidi Duval and Tom Ewell's son Tate Ewell in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. A Sep 1955 HR news item adds that location shooting took place at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
       The scene in which "Sandra Roberts," the upstairs neighbor, tells "Gregory Whitcomb" that their situation reminds her of the movie about a girl who would visit her downstairs neighbor to "air-condition herself while his wife was away," refers to the 1955 Twentieth Century-Fox release The Seven Year Itch (see below) in which Ewell played the downstairs neighbor and Marilyn Monroe was the girl upstairs. A Sep 1956 HR news item notes that Kathleen and Herbert Faber sued Fox, claiming that The Lieutenant Wore Skirts plagiarized their scenario titled Hero , which they had submitted to the studio in 1950. The outcome of that suit is unknown. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Jan 1956.
---
Daily Variety
30 Dec 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
5 Jan 56
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 1955.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 55
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 55
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Sep 55
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 55
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 55
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 55
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 55
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Dec 55
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 55
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Sep 56
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Jan 56
p. 729.
New York Times
12 Jan 56
p. 22.
Variety
11 Jan 56
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Rock Around the Island," words and music by Ken Darby, sung by The Lancers.
PERFORMER
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
I Lost My Wife to the Army
Mr. Retread
The Camp Follower
Release Date:
January 1956
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 31 December 1955
New York opening: 11 January 1956
Production Date:
23 August--late September 1955
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
30 December 1955
Copyright Number:
LP6105
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
99
Length(in feet):
8,897
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17723
SYNOPSIS

Gregory Whitcomb, a television writer and author of a best-selling book about his experiences as a World War II hero, is about to celebrate his third anniversary to his young wife Katy when a letter arrives from the Air Force. Greg's agent, Henry "Hank" Gaxton, is worried that the letter may be summoning Greg, an Air Force Reservist, to active duty, so Katy steams it open and discovers that her husband has been ordered to report for a physical exam the following day. To avoid spoiling their anniversary party that night, Katy decides to hide the letter from Greg while Hank schemes to win a deferment for him by having him write the life story of Capt. Barney Sloan, a Korean War hero. Henry brings the dashing young captain to the party that night, and presses Katy to use her charms to win Greg the writing assignment. When the handsome captain becomes the center of attention and derides Greg as an "old timer," Greg gets drunk. After discovering the letter summoning him to duty, Greg pulls on his old uniform and passes out in the bushes. Katy and Hank revive Greg, and Hank explains his plans to win a deferment, but Greg rejects his idea while proposing that active duty may provide him with new experiences to write about. To be near her husband, Katy, a former Air Force lieutenant, decides to surprise him and reenlist. Thinking that they will be spending two blissful years together on the military base, Katy then rents out their house. Her plans go awry, however, when Greg flunks his physical because of a bad knee. Katy ... +


Gregory Whitcomb, a television writer and author of a best-selling book about his experiences as a World War II hero, is about to celebrate his third anniversary to his young wife Katy when a letter arrives from the Air Force. Greg's agent, Henry "Hank" Gaxton, is worried that the letter may be summoning Greg, an Air Force Reservist, to active duty, so Katy steams it open and discovers that her husband has been ordered to report for a physical exam the following day. To avoid spoiling their anniversary party that night, Katy decides to hide the letter from Greg while Hank schemes to win a deferment for him by having him write the life story of Capt. Barney Sloan, a Korean War hero. Henry brings the dashing young captain to the party that night, and presses Katy to use her charms to win Greg the writing assignment. When the handsome captain becomes the center of attention and derides Greg as an "old timer," Greg gets drunk. After discovering the letter summoning him to duty, Greg pulls on his old uniform and passes out in the bushes. Katy and Hank revive Greg, and Hank explains his plans to win a deferment, but Greg rejects his idea while proposing that active duty may provide him with new experiences to write about. To be near her husband, Katy, a former Air Force lieutenant, decides to surprise him and reenlist. Thinking that they will be spending two blissful years together on the military base, Katy then rents out their house. Her plans go awry, however, when Greg flunks his physical because of a bad knee. Katy is then sent to Hawaii under the strict command of Capt. Briggs, while Greg moves into Hank's bachelor pad. As Greg laments life without Katy, Hank's nubile female neighbors keep dropping by. One day, Sandra Roberts, the buxom brunette who lives upstairs, comes to sun herself on the terrace and rhapsodizes about the surfeit of men in Hawaii. Crazed with jealousy, Greg decides to fly to Hawaii and bring Katy home. Katy refuses Greg's suggestion about aiming for a dishonorable discharge, however, and suggests renting an apartment together off base. Aware that as a security officer, Katy is allowed off base only one night per week, Greg suggests moving into her quarters instead, just like a military wife. When Katy demurs, Greg hires an erotic hula dancer to pose as his new cook, prompting Katy to insist that he immediately move into her quarters. As the officers go to work, Greg is left behind with their wives, who invite him to join their bridge game. After one of the husbands calls home and Greg answers the phone, the officer complains to Katy, the base security officer. That night, when Greg nonchalantly returns home after a hard day playing bridge, Katy angrily informs him that all the husbands have been complaining about him and storms out of the room. Later, Katy becomes furious when she discovers that Greg's cook was really an exotic dancer, and to make amends, Greg promises to be the best wife she has ever had. Soon after, Hank comes to Honolulu with Sandy and informs Greg that he has decided to emulate him by falling in love with a younger woman. When Hank suggests that Katy could be discharged for psychiatric reasons, Greg decides to make his wife think that she is crazy. Greg awakens Katy in the middle of the night by playing reveille and then hides his trumpet. After he slips eggs into her pockets and purse, Katy becomes edgy. Informing the base psychiatrist about his wife's condition, Greg suggests the doctor pose as an old friend and observe Katy over dinner. His plan backfires, however, when the doctor finds Greg's bugle hidden under a chair cushion and informs Katy that her husband is trying to make her think she is crazy. Furious, Katy announces that she is leaving Greg and will ask for a transfer to Germany. On the night before she is to leave, Katy meets Hank at a dance and learns that Greg has been called back to duty because his knee has healed. Hank explains that Greg's bad knee was caused by his fear of losing Katy, but now with separation certain, his knee is normal. The next day, as Katy is about to board her plane to Germany, Capt. Briggs informs Greg that Katy has flunked her physical because she is pregnant. Against the roar of propellers, Greg bounds up the stairs leading to the plane to give Katy the news, and when Katy runs back into his arms, his knee collapses. +

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

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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.