South Sea Woman (1953)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Comedy  |  27 June 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 402 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 4 critic

AWOL marine Sgt. Jim O'Hearn is court-martialed for a variety of offenses that carry 143 years in the stockade or the death penalty but refuses to aid in his own defense.



(screenplay), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Master Gunnery Sgt. James O'Hearn
Ginger Martin
Pvt. Davey White
Arthur Shields ...
'Jimmy-legs' Donovan
Barry Kelley ...
Col. Hickman
Pierre Marchand
Veola Vonn ...
Lillie Duval
Bob Sweeney ...
Defense Lt. Miller
Prosecution Lt. Fears
Raymond Greenleaf ...
Captain at Court-martial
Paul Burke ...
Ensign at Court-martial
Henri Letondal ...
William O'Leary ...
Smith - Embezzler
John Alderson ...
George Saurel ...
Jacques (as Georges Saurel)


Marine Sergeant James O'Hearn is being tried at the San Diego Marine base for desertion, theft, scandalous conduct and destruction of property in time of war. He refuses to testify or plead guilty or not guilty to the charges. Showgirl Ginger Martin takes the stand against his protest. She testifies O'Hearn won't talk because he is protecting the name of his pal, Marine Private Davey White. Ginger tells how she, broke and stranded, met the two marines in Shanghai two weeks before Pearl Harbor. White proposes marriage so that Ginger can be evacuated from China as his wife. Before the ceremony, the two Marines get into a fight with the natives and escape with Ginger aboard a small motor boat. They wind up in Namou, a Vichy French island, and are quartered in a run-down hotel. O'Hearn discovers a Nazi yacht delivering radar supplies to the island, and plans to seize it with the help of the Free French. White refuses to join and says he is deserting and intends to remain on the island ... Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

27 June 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sulu Sea  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Began shooting in January 1953. See more »


During the closing scene, when Ginger faints, she falls on her side. When Sgt. Jim O'Hearn goes to help her up, she is laying flat on her back. See more »


Master Gunnery Sgt. James O'Hearn: Nice place you got here, Madame!
Lillie Duval: [referring to the three prostitutes in her stable] You do not like my darling nieces, monsieur?
Master Gunnery Sgt. James O'Hearn: [ogling her] I stopped picking green apples when I left the farm. Ripe fruit is sweeter.
See more »


Hail to the Chief
Music by James Sanderson
Played when Jim leaves the IOU
See more »

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User Reviews

U.S.M.C.. Knockabout Comedy
1 December 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I found my way to this film after seeing Veola Vonn playing "Arlette" a voluptuous painter's model in "Le Fantome de la rue Morgue" (1954) which is loosely based on an Edgar Allan Poe novel.On looking at Veola's film career she seemed to specialise in acting roles playing French ladies of easy virtue and the subject film is typical when she plays Lillie Duval a madame of a brothel on a remote French island.Although she was born in NYK.(1918-1995), I wondered whether she had French parents/relatives or connections to give substance to these roles.

Virginia Mayo first came to my attention in "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) playing the initially good-time wife of Dana Andrews a returning bombardier officer from the U.S.A.F. being demobbed at the end of WWII.In this film Virginia as "Ginger Martin" shows off her very feminine figure to its best advantage and soon gets Chuck (The Rifleman) Connors (Pvt.Davey White) & Burt Lancaster (Sgt. O'Hearn) squabbling over her and how best to get back into WWII on the side of Uncle Sam.For Burt it must have made a change doing this knockabout comedy after filming the heavy dramatic acting required playing another sergeant in "From Here To Eternity (1953)" in the same year.Coincidentally both films have the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour as a theme.Another face I spotted was Paul Burke (The Naked City - 1960s TV series) playing an ensign at Sgt.O'Hearn's court marshal.

Obviously the plot outlined in other user comments above is comedic and Hollywood stereotypes abound which include (from an American perspective,) all foreigners who cannot speak English but we must remember that these films were produced by Americans for average Americans.I would place the growing international maturity of U.S. film producers from 1962 with "The Longest Day".One obvious editing device used in "South Sea Woman" is to utilise B&W war newsreels of the real WWII U.S./Japanese conflict and splice them into the subject B&W film. Also used were back-projection screens with "real" studio action by the actors.Oh well, c'est la guerre.I rated it 6/10 on purely on an entertainment level.

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