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Russ Raymond, America's number one crooner, disappears and joins the Navy under the name Tommy Halstead. Dorothy Roberts, a magazine journalist, is intent on finding out what happened to Russ and she tries everything she can to get a picture of him to prove he's Russ Raymond. Tommy's friends, Pomeroy Watson and Smokey Adams,help him while Pomeroy writes love letters to Patty Andrews. But because Smokey makes Pomeroy lie about himself in the letters, and when Patty comes to the Navy base, she's furious at Pomeroy. When Pomeroy, Smokey, Tommy and the Andrews sisters set sail for Hawaii, Pomeroy discovers there's a tomato in the potato locker, and she's been snapping shots of Tommy the whole trip. Whether Pomeroy's proving that 7 x 13 = 28 - three different ways, having Smokey help him play ship captain for Patty, or falling out of his hammock, it's an Abbott and Costello classic. Written by
Lindsay Smith <email@example.com>
This movie was actually filmed after Hold That Ghost (1941), but they released it first because the public wanted to see some "service pictures." After this film was released, Universal revamped "Hold That Ghost" to add a romantic subplot and some musical numbers for The Andrews Sisters and Ted Lewis' band, which hadn't been in the original cut. See more »
I saw this first when young so maybe my rose-tinted specs are kicking in, but I still really like this film. Just as Britain's box office no. 1 George Formby was enlisted by the movie industry to help the War effort with a string of "service comedies" so were Abbott & Costello, America's no. 1 cinema attraction at the time. And same as Formby, keeping the same formula but with varying results. Universal were also cashing in on the previous hit Buck Privates for speed and cheapness most of this film was shot in front of a back projection of stock footage and on a handful of sets. Hold That Ghost had already been finished but had to wait while In The Navy had its day in the Sun first.
Bud and Lou are a pair of ordinary gobs, Dick Powell is an idolised crooner who wants to escape the attention to become an ordinary gob but is hounded by Claire Dodd ace reporter, while Dick Foran had his gob shut for most of the picture. Powell might have considered himself a "Forgotten Man" in 1941 but he still got equal billing with the boys. The farcical but at the time controversial nautical climax (without it being only a dream) was lifted from Jack Ahoy with Jack Hulbert from 1934, but I've no doubt it was lifted for him as well. The songs by Don Raye and Gene de Paul were hit and miss, the best being the lovely Starlight, Starbright (for Powell) well up their usual lustrous Wartime Universal mark, and the peppy Gimme Some Skin and Hula Ba Luau (both for the Andrews Sisters). Patti must have been standing in for Martha Raye who came back for Keep 'Em Flying one year later. Foran for all of his fine singing voice was slightly in the way here and only got to do a bit of A Sailor's Life For Me. Favourite bits: The Condos Brothers dance routine I feel my ankles cracking just recalling it; Find the submarine; genuine fun with the Sons of Neptune initiation ceremony; Powell's efforts to thwart the photographer; There's a second chance a few years later to check it out in Little Giant but no matter which way you look at it 7 x 13 = 28!
Not quite up to Buck Privates, but still with that unique Universal atmosphere pervading and thus one of my favourites from the boys.
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