Saturday, December 09, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Operation Petticoat (1959) - An Olive Signature Blu-ray Review

The classic Cary Grant-Tony Curtis comedy OPERATION PETTICOAT (1959) has just been released as an Olive Signature Blu-ray by Olive Films.

Last year I reviewed a couple other titles from the Olive Signature line, JOHNNY GUITAR (1954) and NIGHT OF THE GRIZZLY (1966). Earlier this year the Signature line went on hiatus; Olive has now resumed Signature releases, which going forward will be released on Blu-ray only, with each release limited to 3500 copies.

Olive Signature's OPERATION PETTICOAT Blu-ray is an extras-laden upgrade of their 2014 release of the movie, which I reviewed roughly 18 months ago. The Blu-ray looks terrific, and when all the new extras are factored in -- more on those below -- the Olive Signature OPERATION PETTICOAT is a "must" for fans of the film.

OPERATION PETTICOAT is fun from start to finish; I couldn't count the number of times I've seen it over the years, and watching it in back-to-back years was a pleasure. It's the rare comedy which runs a full 120 minutes yet seems shorter.

For anyone who might not have seen the film, OPERATION PETTICOAT is a "service comedy" about the crew of the USS SEA TIGER during WWII. As the film begins, the SEA TIGER is damaged by an air attack, but Lt. Commander Matt Sherman (Grant) and supply officer par excellence Lt. Nick Holden (Curtis) manage to get the sub working well enough to head for repairs at a Pacific island.

As the Sea Tiger travels the Pacific, it takes aboard five stranded nurses and later some expectant island women and their children -- not to mention a goat! At one point the sub ends up painted pink, and there's also a memorable adventure involving a pig. Grant's playing of the pig sequence is in my Top 5 funniest movie moments ever.

All in all it's an incredibly funny movie, set against the most serious of backdrops; the film's multiple screenwriters were Oscar-nominated. Grant and Curtis are brilliant, with impeccable comedic timing, and they're ably supported by a top cast including Arthur O'Connell, Virginia Gregg, Dick Sargent, Gavin MacLeod, Dina Merrill, Joan O'Brien, Marion Ross, and more.

OPERATION PETTICOAT was directed by Blake Edwards and filmed by Russell Harlan.

Olive presents some great extras on this disc, starting with a 20-minute featurette editing together separate interviews with cast members MacLeod and Ross. There's a shorter reminiscence of Blake Edwards the man and director, featuring interviews with his daughter, Jennifer Edwards, and actress Lesley Ann Warren (VICTOR/VICTORIA).

Also included are an additional featurette, on Cary Grant; newsreel footage; and a commentary track by Adrian Martin.

 The case includes an attractive booklet with an essay by Chris Fujiwara; unfortunately the print is so small it almost requires a magnifying glass, but Fujiwara's essay is also printed in bigger type as a Blu-ray extra.

Both the movie itself and Olive's Blu-ray release are highly recommended.

Olive Signature has also just released another Cary Grant comedy, FATHER GOOSE (1964), which likewise has plentiful extras. I'll be reviewing that here at a future date. (Update: Here is the FATHER GOOSE review!)

Thanks to Olive Films for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


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