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Operation Petticoat (1959)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance, War  |  1959 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 8,752 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 34 critic

World War 2 comedy about a submarine commander who finds himself stuck with a decrepit (and pink) sub, a con-man executive officer and a group of army nurses.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Operation Petticoat (1959)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan O'Brien ...
Lt. Dolores Crandall RN
Gene Evans ...
Ens. Stovall (as Richard Sargent)
Robert F. Simon ...
Robert Gist ...
Ernest Hunkle
George Dunn ...
The Prophet
Dick Crockett ...
Lt. Reid RN
Lt. Colfax RN
Clarence Lung ...
Sgt. Ramon Gillardo (as Clarence E. Lung)


A submarine newly commissioned is damaged in the opening days of WW II. A captain, looking for a command insists he can get it to a dockyard and captain it. Going slowly to this site, they find a stranded group of Army nurses and must take them aboard. How bad can it get? Trying to get a primer coat on the sub, they have to mix white and red in order to have enough. When forced to flee the dock during an air attack, they find themselves with the world's only Pink submarine, still with 5 women in the tight quarters of a submarine. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


20,000 Laughs Under The Sea! See more »


Comedy | Romance | War


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1959 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Sirenas y tiburones  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


(Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jeff Chandler was originally offered the role that went to Cary Grant. Grant himself was at first reluctant to take it, knowing he was much too old to play a wartime captain. See more »


When Lt. Holden tells the Marine guard about the "blackout regulations," he says the order came from Adm. Nimitz. If this is set in mid-December 1941, Adm. Nimitz wasn't commander-in-chief, yet. He took command on 31 December 1941. See more »


Lt. Nicholas Holden: [to the captain] Sir, in Las Vegas, the boys would say you're trying to make your point the hard way.
See more »


Referenced in The Pink Panther Story (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Smooth Sailing
26 June 2002 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Be warned that this film has great comic dialogue delivered with fine timing by good actors, but if you are prissy about political correctness and hung up on "gender issues", it might discomfort you. But that's your problem, not the film's. Most viewers can just come aboard and enjoy the voyage, appreciating the comic situations and energetic pace. Grant and Curtis are in top form, playing their contrasting characters with skill. Virginia Gregg's and Arthur O'Connell's characters' love/hate relationship is a clever use of classic "gender issues" to elicit laughs and sympathy. The women in this film are more than just sexy ballast. In any case, as a great French comedian noted, "Vive la difference!" Relax, enjoy, and anchors aweigh.

18 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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