YOU'RE IN THE NAVY NOW is perfect Friday night entertainment, a lighthearted look at the travails of a crew of "90-day wonders" stationed on a steam-powered "sub catcher" in the early days of WWII. It was "laugh out loud funny," and my family thoroughly enjoyed it.
When Navy Lt. John Harkness (Gary Cooper) arrives at his first command, he's shocked to discover two things: a crew as inexperienced as he is and a tricky steam-powered engine which needs to be tested in sea trials. Harkness, newly graduated from officers' school, was selected to command the ship because of his engineering degree from Rutgers -- 18 years previously. When it's time for the ship to get underway the first time, Harkness first runs to his quarters and consults a manual for directions!
The ship's officers are played by Eddie Albert, Richard Erdman, and Jack Webb. As a matter of fact, the dour Sgt. Joe Friday himself has a couple of the funniest scenes in the movie; it's a pleasure watching him.
Lovely Jane Greer adds a welcome touch of romance as Cooper's wife, although her scenes are fairly limited.
Millard Mitchell is the seasoned crewman who is just about the only person aboard ship who has a clue what he's doing. Part of the fun of watching the movie is simply recognizing the various crew members as they come on camera: Lee Marvin...Jack Warden...Harvey Lembeck...and most amusingly, Charles Bronson.
The upper brass on shore are played by John McIntire, Ray Collins, Harry Von Zell, and Ed Begley. This was the second movie made by Henry Slate, who plays Chief Engineer Ryan; his last movie was last Friday night's movie, MURPHY'S ROMANCE (1985).
YOU'RE IN THE NAVY NOW was directed by Henry Hathaway. It was shot in black and white and runs 93 minutes. The film has also been shown under the title U.S.S. TEAKETTLE.
YOU'RE IN THE NAVY NOW is available on DVD in an excellent print. The only notable extra is the trailer.
A couple of rating books I enjoy consulting for opinions only gave this film two stars. It's a good thing we don't let the books actually influence our viewing choices or we would have missed a real treat! It was very entertaining watching the crew figure out how to work together and "improvise" to run their ship. This was a solid three-star movie which I recommend as fun family viewing.