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Don't Give Up the Ship (1959)

 -  Comedy  -  3 July 1959 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 388 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 3 critic

John Paul Steckler was the Junior Officer aboard a destroyer when WWII ended. He gets stuck with the job of sailing the ship to the states to be decommissioned. Now years latter, no one ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Don't Give Up the Ship (1959)

Don't Give Up the Ship (1959) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Complete credited cast:
John Paul Steckler I / John Paul Steckler IV / John Paul Steckler VII
Ens. Rita J. Benson
Diana Spencer ...
Prudence Trabert Steckler
Mickey Shaughnessy ...
Stan Wychinski
Robert Middleton ...
Vice Adm. Philo Tecumseh Bludde
Congressman Mandeville
Mabel Albertson ...
Mrs. Trabert
Lt. Cmdr. Farber
Hugh Sanders ...
Adm. Rogers
Richard Shannon ...
Cmdr. Cross
Chuck Wassil ...
Cmdr. Craig


John Paul Steckler was the Junior Officer aboard a destroyer when WWII ended. He gets stuck with the job of sailing the ship to the states to be decommissioned. Now years latter, no one knows where the ship is. He has a choice. Find the ship, or pay for it, Now! If only Prudence, to whom he just got married, could understand why he isn't there for his Honeymoon. Written by Brian W Martz <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ship | honeymoon | navy | sailor | missing ship | See more »


Officer and gentleman by Act of Congress -- man, somebody goofed! See more »




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Release Date:

3 July 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Don't Give Up the Ship  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Not only was the USS Vammen DE644 (Destroyer Escort) used as the fictitious USS Kornblatt but so was her crew. The scenes (at around 37 mins) are the USS Vammen crew desperately trying to follow Jerry Lewis' delightfully chaotic commands. See more »


Ensign Steckler and Chief Wychinski go to explore an island after their ship has run aground. While exploring the island, a background shot of the ship shows it rolling in the sea swells. See more »


Ens. Rita J. Benson: You can take your shoes off, if you'd like.
John Paul Steckler VII: Oh, thank you. I won't be as tall, though.
See more »


References The Caine Mutiny (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

Not bad....although not all that good, either.
21 July 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I must admit that I am not a huge fan of Jerry Lewis' films. While I've seen all the ones he did with Dean Martin, I have avoided his solo films because (in my opinion) he tended to overact and subtlety was NOT a concern. I think my view is colored by my having seen some of his very worst solo films first. It's hard to watch another Lewis outing after having seen (uggghh!) "Cracking Up" (1983)--a film so bad that it went straight to video and the only movie I've ever watched that made me physically ill (seriously). So, in fairness, I decided to watch a few of his earlier films to see if they are worth seeing.

While I would never say that "Don't Give Up The Ship" was no work of genius, it is a mostly pleasant little film. While Lewis DID occasionally mug and overplay things very badly, for the most part it's a decent little time-passer.

Lewis is a lieutenant in the Navy during the present day. He's just gotten married and is about to embark on his honeymoon when he is arrested and brought to account for a ship he apparently 'lost' back in 1945 when the war ended. Where exactly the boat got to is what the big-wigs want to find out--and it's inexplicable that a ship could be misplaced for a decade and a half until anyone noticed this! Much of the film consists of flashbacks of Lewis during the war (when he was an ensign) as well as his meetings with a psychiatrist (Dina Merrill) who tries to dig into the facts.

For the most part, there are no big laughs at all during this film--none. But, it also is pretty inoffensive as well--but could have been better had Lewis behaved like a relatively believable naval officer. As I said, his mugging and overplaying occasionally made the film tough viewing. But the film isn't bad in a mindless sort of way. Just turn off your brain and enjoy.

By the way, in the underwater diving scene near the end, note that Jerry is sweating--and you can see sweat dribbling off his arms. Yet, he is supposed to be under water! This is a particularly dumb portion of the film (with very a very fake looking shark and octopus). Try to look past this.

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