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The Captain's Paradise (1953)

The bigamist captain of a ferry boat between the restricted British colony in Gibraltar and Spanish Morocco has a woman of differing appeal and temperament in each port.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Captain Henry St. James
Nita St. James
Celia Johnson ...
Maud St. James
Charles Goldner ...
Chief Officer Ricco
Miles Malleson ...
Lawrence St. James
Walter Crisham ...
Nicholas Phipps ...
The Major
Bill Fraser ...
Absalom (taxi driver)
The Sheikh
Ali (Vendor)
Kalikan firing-squad officer
Claudia Grey ...
Susan Dailey
Ann Heffernan ...
Daphne Bligh (as Ann Hefferman)
Arthur Gomez ...
Chief steward
George Benson ...
Mr. Salmon


Mediterranean ferryboat captain Henry St James has things well organized - a loving and very English wife Maud in Gibraltar, and the loving if rather more hot-blooded Mistress, Nita in Tangiers. A perfect life. As long as neither woman decides to follow him to the other port. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Model Husband... in Gibraltar! A Gay, Dashing Lover... in North Africa! See more »


Comedy | Romance


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Release Date:

28 September 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Paradise  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Henry's quote 'We cultivate the faculty of patient expectancy..." is taken from G.K. Chesterton ("I am cultivating the faculty of patient expectancy."). See more »


The shots of the ship at night are obviously of a model, as can be seen by the movement of the sea at the bow. See more »


Capt. Henry St. James: Keep an eye on them. They're a wicked lot.
See more »


Remade as Coffee, Tea or Me? (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

A element of paradise not to be overlooked
19 January 2007 | by (Auckland, ew Zealand) – See all my reviews

News today of the recent death of Yvonnne De Carlo brings this movie back into my mind. I saw it during a period of my life when I had for several years had few opportunities to go to the movies. I had been a student priest in Rome and movie houses were off limits for us. Away on summer holidays in 1953, I caught up with the movie at a cinema in Vienna that was showing English language movies for the benefit of the English military personnel, part of the post World War II occupation force in the Austrian capital. I was allowed to sneak in.

But quite apart from the fact that it was a welcome interlude in a period of drought in my movie watching life, the movie remains in my memory as one of the cleverest comedies I have seen. Not side splitting, it is true. But excellent English wit. And the final scene is unforgettable.

The movies is entitled "The captain's paradise" Reading the IMDb user's comments, I see they correctly note two reasons why the ship captain's life style was a paradise. His homely English wife in Gibraltar and his party going Spanish wife in North Africa. But there was a third element that none of them seem to note as a factor in the captain's happy situation. At sea, at meal times women are rigidly excluded from the captain's table. Those seated with the captain are diplomats, explorers, scientists and suchlike. All of them males. The third paradise element in the captain's life is the enjoyment of male company and conversation at meals. This link with the film's title needs to be remembered. No wonder the script received an Oscar nomination.

There is one aspect of the movie on which I would like another viewer to enlighten me. How did Yvonne De Carlo come to be in this very English movie ? Today after hearing word of her death I looked in IMDb at her listed appearances. From being Moses' wife in Ten Commandments to being the mother in The Munsters, pretty well every role seems to be in a United States production. How did she find her place in a Ealing comedy? But at least it was a most welcome appearance and I am glad she hopped the Atlantic for this one.

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