Maritime Monday for September 30th, 2013: Movies About Sailors Part 5; Sailor’s Luck

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September 29, 2013


above: Here Comes the Navy (Warner Brothers, 1934)

Part 1Part 2Part IIIPart IV

Sailor of the King (20th Century Fox, 1953)

Sailor of the King (20th Century Fox, 1953)
poster appears to feature Matt Damon rather than Jeffrey Hunter

Jeffrey Hunter and Wendy Hiller; Single-HandedReleased in Britain as Single Handed – Jeffrey Hunter plays a young Canadian sailor, the out-of-wedlock son of a high-ranking naval officer (Michael Rennie).

Hunter‘s ship is sunk by the German raider Essen, who’s crew then rescues him. After being pumped for information on Royal Navy movements, he sneaks off the cruiser under cover of darkness and perches high up on a desolate cliff.  rt: Jeffrey Hunter and Wendy Hiller

Sailor of the King Single-HandedArmed with only a rifle, Hunter is able to shoot at the Essen, anchored in the harbor for repairs, and delay her departure.

The Royal Navy move in for the kill, Hunter is rescued and later decorated for valor by the squadron commander… his own father.

(source, image abv rt)


Michael Rennie was ill…

Though set during World War II, Sailor of the King was adapted from C. S. Forester‘s World War I novel Brown on Resolution, (1929).  (allmovie)

The film is unusual for its period in that, for the American version, two different endings were filmed, one in which Brown survives and another in which he is killed. Both were shown in cinemas and audiences were asked to choose their favourite. Both endings are shown when the film is broadcast on British television. +


Carry On Cleo: The seventh HMS Cleopatra; 1940

manxThe Dido class cruiser HMS Cleopatra plays both the fictional Royal Navy ships HMS Amesbury and HMS Stratford. As Amesbury, she is sunk by the more powerful German raider Essen, and as Stratford, she triumphs in the end.

The raider Essen is portrayed by HMS Manxman, a fast minelaying cruiser, fitted for the film with large mock-up turrets over her 4″ guns. The ‘torpedo damage’ which forces her delay at Resolution Island is simply painted on the side of her port bow. +

VIDEO: Single-Handed/Sailor of the King (1953) – Naval Battle excerpt (8 mins 43)

Miss Monkey watched this flick on Thursday night.  Very good movie.  I seem to have gotten the single ending version, the one where he survives.  If anyone knows where I can rustle up the other ending…

above rt: Ship heraldry at the NMM

The Sailor From Gibraltar (Les Artistes Associes, 1967)

The Sailor From Gibraltar (Les Artistes Associes, 1967)

Jeanne Moreau plays Anna, a Frenchwoman of means who experienced fleeting true love with a sailor many years before. In the interim, her husband killed himself and left Anna his vast fortune, and now she is sailing from port to seedy port, searching the world over in vain for her long-lost sailor. (more)

A Sailor-Made Man (Pathé, 1921)

A Sailor-Made Man (Pathé, 1921)

Lloyd plays an insufferable rich young man. The father of his sweetheart (Mildred Davis) does not approve of him, and insists that he must do something with his life if he is to be worthy of the girl. Harold’s answer is to join the Navy. His dream of being an admiral contrasts sharply with reality, where he is at the bottom of the pecking order. +

When his ship docks at a Middle Eastern kingdom, The Girl and her father also arrive by yacht. The local maharajah kidnaps The Girl and it is up to Lloyd to rescue her. +

Sailors Three (ABFD, 1941) British Comedy

Sailors Three (ABFD, 1941) British Comedy

Sailors 3 Also known as Three Cockeyed Sailors.

Trinder plays Tommy Taylor, a sailor on board the HMS Ferocious, a British ship sent to track down and destroy the German destroyer Ludendorff, prowling the waters off South America.

Mates Llewelyn “The Admiral” Davies, (Claude Hulbert) and Johnny Wilding, (Michael Wilding), head out on shore leave and, through a tortuous series of mishaps involving Davies’ attractive sister Jane (Carla Lehman), end up rowing drunkenly back to their ship… except they head towards the wrong one, and end up climbing aboard the Ludendorff instead.

Following an abortive attempt to pass themselves off as Germans, they escape and take over the ship. True chaos erupts when the Ludendorff begins shelling Ferocious.

The Great Ealing Film Challenge: Sailors Three

Tommy TrinderThomas Edward Trinder (1909–1989) was an English stage, screen and radio comedian of the pre- and post-war years. He was fast-talking and quick-witted and well-suited to stand up comedy in front of a live audience.

rt: Tommy Trinder in Sailors 3

By World War II, he was one of Britain’s foremost entertainers and his shows brought welcome relief during the darkest days of the war. His catch phrases, ‘You lucky people!’ and ‘If it’s laughter you’re after, Trinder’s the name’, combined with his trademarks; the trilby hat, the leering smile and the wagging finger were almost universally recognised in Britain.

more on wikipedia

VIDEO: Tommy Trinder talking about George Formby

VIDEO: Tommy Trinder & Sonnie Hale sing “Sweet Fanny Adams”

Sailor's Lady (20th Century Fox, 1940)

Sailor’s Lady (20th Century Fox, 1940)

Danny Malone’s (Jon Hall) impending marriage to Sally Gilroy (Claire Trevor) is put on the back burner when she is put in charge of an orphaned baby. During naval maneuvers, the infant is accidentally left on board Danny’s ship. Chaos reigns supreme until Danny hits upon a way to set things right. Also starring Larry “Buster” Crabbe. (allmovie)

Written by Lt. Commander Frank “Spig” Wead; (1895- 1947) a US Navy aviator turned screenwriter who helped promote Naval aviation from its inception through World War II. Author of They Were Expendable (1945), The Wings of Eagles (1957), and more.

The American team under the leadership of LT Frank Wilbur Wead, USN (team captain) won the Schneider International Seaplane Race and were awarded the Schneider Trophy on 28 September 1923, at East Cowes, Isle of Wight, Great Britain.  (wikipedia)

Sailor's Luck (Fox, 1933)

Sailor’s Luck (Fox, 1933)

While US sailor Jimmy Harrigan (James Dunn) is on leave in San Pedro, he unexpectedly falls in love with the beautiful Sally Brent (Sally Eilers). Though Sally promises to be faithful after Jimmy ships out to San Francisco, Jimmy becomes jealous.

Furious at the news that Sally has entered a marathon dance contest sponsored by the lecherous Baron Portola (Victor Jory) , Jimmy and several of his Navy buddies go to the ballroom on the night of the dance marathon in an attempt to change Sally’s mind and win her back. Directed by Raoul Walsh. (allmovie)

Sailor's Luck

Sailor’s Luck

Sailors on Leave (Republic, 1941)

Sailors on Leave (Republic, 1941)

Sailors on Leave stars William Lundigan as sailor Chuck Stephens, who has borrowed so much money from his fellow gobs that he’s in debt up to his eyelids. Chuck’s shipmates decide to get even with him by arranging a “fake” marriage with cafe songstress Shirley Ross that turns out to be legally binding.

Naturally, the two despise each other… at first. (allmovie)

Sailors on Leave

Sailors on Leave

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea (Avco Embassy, 1976)

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea (Avco Embassy, 1976)

After his father dies, a disturbed young boy plots to take revenge on the new man in his mother’s life. (imdb)

Based on a novel written by Yukio Mishima, published in Japanese in 1963 and translated into English by John Nathan in 1965.  (more on wikipedia)

New York Times movie review:

The blurred and preposterous foreground of “The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea” is the activity of a band of Nietszche-besotted children straight out of “Lord of the Flies.” The limpid and beautifully filmed background is the love story of the mother of one of them and a merchant marine officer. The film’s climax is the bloody clash between the two stories, a climax that should be tragic but is simply grotesque and unbelievable…  (more)

download: The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea (1976)

*make a free account, log in and download selected title.
Ignore warnings about not having divx plug in

The Sailor Takes a Wife (MGM, 1945)

The Sailor Takes a Wife (MGM, 1945)

Swept off her feet in one whirlwind night by dashing U.S. Navy man John (Robert Walker), the young, attractive Mary (June Allyson) agrees to a fast, ill-considered wedding. John ships out immediately afterward, with no time for a honeymoon or even a consummation.

Much to Mary’s chagrin, John is quickly discharged from the service for medical reasons and returns home. The transition to domestic bliss is an uneasy one for Mary and John, who are essentially strangers.

Each becomes the object of affection for others. Mary fends off the unwelcome advances of her boss Freddie (Hume Cronyn), who wants to break up her fragile relationship so he can ask for her hand. At the same time, the innocent John is slow to realize that a war refugee neighbor who lives in their apartment building is interested in more than a platonic friendship.

The Sailor Takes a Wife (1945) costarred popular comic actors Eddie “Rochester” Anderson and Joe De Rita, better known as “Curly Joe” of The Three Stooges. +

Salute to the Marines (MGM, 1943)

Salute to the Marines (MGM, 1943)

In this wartime comedy drama an ultra-macho but aging Marine sergeant does all he can to keep his men intimidated and towing the line while they are stationed in the Philippines at the beginning of WW II. The tough-as-nails jarhead has a terrible secret though–he has never been involved in actual combat.

After a drunken brawl with some merchant sailors, he is tossed into the brig until his wife urges him to retire. He reluctantly agrees and tries his hand at civilian life.  When the Japanese eventually invade the islands, the old sergeant helps the civilian’s withdraw to safety, but loses his life in the process.  A three-hanky ending. +

The Sand Pebbles (20th Century Fox, 1966)

The Sand Pebbles (20th Century Fox, 1966)

Jake had thought that by joining a small ship he would be getting away from military drill and mickey-mouse; but he has a rude awakening his first day aboard. The San Pablo has more drill and ritual than a battleship…”  +


“Every day the crew practices a different scenario. Holman’s first experience is a memorable Repel Boarders drill. Chinese coolies crowd the slip to watch Chief Franks (Barney Phillips) brandish his cutlass and bellow, “Keep back, you slopeheaded slobs! Cheelah! Cheelah!” while the rest of the crew point their rifles and look mean.”

Based on the 1962 novel by American author Richard McKenna about a Yangtze River gunboat in 1926. The movies stars Steve McQueen as a rebellious US Navy Machinist’s Mate aboard the fictional gunboat USS San Pablo.

The film company spent $250,000 building a replica gunboat named the San Pablo, based on the USS Villalobos — a former Spanish Navy gunboat that was seized by the U.S. Navy in the Philippine Islands during the Spanish-American War (1898–99) — but with a greatly reduced draft to allow sailing on the shallow Tam Sui and Keelung rivers.  +

The boat was, in reality, welded together; the hundreds of rivets in view were painstakingly glued on to give the appearance of 19th-century warship construction. +

The Sand Pebbles still

Steve McQueen in 1966 – Port Shelter, Sai Kung

A seaworthy vessel that was actually powered by Cummins diesel engines, the “San Pablo” made the voyage from Hong Kong to Taiwan and back under her own power during shooting of the film. After shooting was completed, she was sold to the DeLong Timber Company and renamed the Nola D.  Sold again to the Seiscom Delta Exploration Co., who used her as a floating base camp after significant modifications including removal of her engines and the addition of a helipad.

Filmed both in Taiwan and in Hong Kong; photography which began on November 22, 1965 and was scheduled to last only nine weeks, ended up taking seven months. Due to frequent rain and other difficulties in Hong Kong, the film was nearly abandoned.

Due to exhaustion, McQueen did not work again for almost a year. His performance earned him the only Academy Award nomination of his career.

Steve McQueen

 McQueen as Holman, a machinist mate transferred onto the gunboat San Pueblo

In the Yangtze Incident of 1949, several small Royal Navy ships were shelled by artillery batteries of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Author McKenna had served in the China River Patrol in 1936, and the attack on the gunboat USS Panay is often cited as the inspiration for his novel.

The plot element of the killing of missionary Jameson at China Light Mission may have been inspired by the 1934 killing by Chinese Communists of American Christian missionaries John and Betty Stam. +

In the novel, there is much more description of sailors mixing with the Chinese inhabitants and appreciating their culture. Part of what makes Jake and Frenchy rebels is their ability to get beyond their racist upbringing and enjoy the Chinese as human beings. +

more on wikipedia

see also:

Mako full

“Some of the individual Chinese characters are given sympathetic traits (although
they have to be adopted like pets and protected by the ‘good’ Americans to have any
chance of surviving), but the rest are the usual Chinese stereotypes”

makoMako Iwamatsu (1933 – 2006) was a Japanese-born American actor and voice artist, often credited simply as Mako.

He was born in Kobe, Japan, the son of noted children’s book author and illustrator Taro Yashima. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, his parents, who were political dissidents, moved to the United States, leaving Mako in the care of his grandmother.

After the war, his parents were able to arrange for him to join them, in 1949. He enlisted in the military in the 1950s and became a naturalized American citizen in 1956. When Mako first joined his parents in the USA, he studied architecture. During his military service, he discovered his acting talent.

By 1965, frustrated by the limited roles available to himself and other Asian American actors, Mako and six others formed the East West Players theatre company, first performing out of a church basement. He remained artistic director of the company until 1989.

In 1966, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Po-Han in The Sand Pebbles. He also appeared on the TV show McHale’s Navy several times, playing Imperial Japanese officers, soldiers and sailors. He later appeared on the TV show M*A*S*H, playing multiple roles such as a Chinese doctor, North Korean soldier, and South Korean major.

His Broadway career included creating the role of “The Reciter” in the original production of Pacific Overtures in 1976 (for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical) and was among the actors, producers and directors interviewed in the 2006 documentary The Slanted Screen, directed by Jeff Adachi, about the representation of Asian and Asian American men in Hollywood.  (more on wikipedia)

Sea Devils (RKO, 1937)

Sea Devils (RKO, 1937)

A tough Coast Guard officer endeavors to marry his lovely daughter to a handsome sailor. Trouble is, she’s already in love with another rambunctious and contentious Coastie. The officer transfers the young man to his command and plans to squeeze the wildness from him by assigning him to a dangerous dynamiting operation. Unfortunately, things go very awry and father’s chosen boy ends up sleeping with the fishes; leaving the burly brawler free to marry his gal.  +

Sex and the Single Sailor (William Mishkin Motion Pictures Inc, 1967)

Sex and the Single Sailor (William Mishkin Motion Pictures Inc., 1967)

I think you can figure this one out.

Should Sailors Marry (Pathe', 1925)

Should Sailors Marry? (Pathe’, 1925)

Clyde Cook is the sailor who is being conned for his pay by his ex-wife and her wrestler boyfriend. Considering that they set him up for an insurance “accident,” the answer to the titular question is… No!

Two years before he was teamed with Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy shows up prominently in this short as a doctor. (more on allmovie)

Sinbad the Sailor (RKO, 1946) Argentinean Poster

Sinbad the Sailor (RKO, 1946) Argentinean Poster

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as the swashbuckling Sinbad the Sailor, tracking down the lost treasure of Alexander the Great. Also starring the incredibly gorgeous Maureen O’Hara as a feisty princess, Walter Slezak as a duplicitous green-skinned barber, George Tobias and Mike Mazurki as two of Sinbad’s faithful seamen, and Anthony Quinn as the villain of villains, who meets a suitably fiery demise.

plot synopsis on wikipedia

The Skipper Surprised His Wife (MGM, 1950)

The Skipper Surprised His Wife (MGM, 1950)

Robert Walker stars as Cmdr. William Lattimer, Joan Leslie as his wife Daphne; incapacitated by a broken leg. A stickler for nautical discipline, Lattimer tries to manage the household “the Navy way.” This proves not only futile but ridiculous. +



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Captain Phillips in theaters October 11th

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