Monday, September 10, 2012

Repost: Tonight's Movie: You're in the Navy Now (1951)

NOTE: I've been revisiting some old favorites this past week. Tonight's movie was the comedy YOU'RE IN THE NAVY NOW. This is a very amusing film with a wonderful cast. It can be rented from Netflix. My original review from September 2009 follows, augmented with an additional image.

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.


Blogger Michele B. said...

This sounds like such fun! I'm glad you are revisiting old favorites as you continue to recover.

3:04 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Michele! I definitely find it uplifting and a little less taxing to watch familiar favorites this past week. :) It's a fun movie, hope you get to check it out at some point!

Best wishes,

9:27 AM  
Blogger Blake Lucas said...

Yes, it's a good thing we don't rely on ratings in books. We should always give each movie a chance on its own.

Hathaway is credited with no less than four movies in 1951 and they are all pretty good. I guess I like the tense hostage Western RAWHIDE most but maybe 14 HOURS about as much. THE DESERT FOX is waiting on my DVR for another look. I only saw YOU'RE IN THE NAVY NOW once but enjoyed it. Henry Hathaway was not only prolific but a very strong director in the classical mainstream, which is where my heart has always been.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Blake!

I enjoy the ratings books but more and more often I seem to find my opinions at odds with them. :) My opinions seem to particularly diverge with Maltin & Scheuer on Westerns.

I'm also a particular fan of RAWHIDE. Excellent movie! We were able to find where the stagecoach station had once stood on a trip to Lone Pine a few years ago. (Here's a few photos from the trip.)

I liked 14 HOURS but wasn't wildly enthused by it. The male half of my family has seen THE DESERT FOX but I haven't caught up with that one yet! Hathaway made a number of films I have very much enjoyed.

Best wishes,

1:59 PM  

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