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Operation Petticoat (1959)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 7,985 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 33 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.

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Writers:

(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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It's hijinks on the high seas when a U.S. submarine has to take on a collection of female nurses. Somehow or another, the sub gets painted pink in the process.

Stars: Melinda Naud, Jim Varney, Richard Brestoff
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Cast

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 ...
Harmon
Madlyn Rhue ...
Lt. Reid RN
...
Lt. Colfax RN
Clarence Lung ...
Sgt. Ramon Gillardo (as Clarence E. Lung)
Edit

Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It all started when they smuggled 5 girls aboard their submarine! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 December 1959 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Sirenas y tiburones  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the plot points of the movie were based on real-life incidents. Most notable were scenes set at the opening of WW II, based on the actual sinking of the submarine USS Sealion (SS-195), sunk at the pier at Cavite Navy Yard, the Philippines; Cmdr. Sherman's letter to the supply department on the inexplicable lack of toilet paper, based on an actual letter to the supply department of Mare Island Naval Shipyard by Lt. Cmdr. James Wiggin Coe of the submarine Skipjack (SS-184); and the need to paint a submarine pink, due to the lack of enough red lead or white lead undercoat paint. See more »

Goofs

The destroyer shown attempting to sink the Sea Tiger is the USS Wren, DD-568, which was not commissioned until 20 May 1944. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Nicholas Holden: The scuttlebutt is that we're going to try to submerge at daybreak, and I figured if you've got to go, you might as well go big.
Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman: Mr. Holden, it's past daybreak, and we are submerged.
Lt. Nicholas Holden: We are?
Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman: We are.
Lt. Nicholas Holden: You mean, we're under?
Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman: Yes.
Lt. Nicholas Holden: Well, it isn't a permanent situation, er... What I'm trying to say is, I mean, we can come up if we like to.
Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman: Well, I like to think we can, but then, I'm an incurable optimist.
Lt. Nicholas Holden: What happens, sir, if we, er... What happens if we can't...?
[he motions upward]
[...]
See more »

Connections

Remade as Operation Petticoat: Operation Petticoat (1977) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Top talent makes this a winner.
6 April 2004 | by (honolulu, hawaii) – See all my reviews

There's really no reason to expect that this easy-going military comedy should hold up so well after almost 50 years. While extremely popular as a Christmas release in '59, it then boasted two top box office stars to bring in the crowds, which most critics agreed were the primary attraction supporting some rather thin and predictable material. But the merits are considerably more than reviewers originally gave credit for, and the film endures as a cleverly crafted entertainment on several levels. Its uncomplicated premise accommodates humor less derived from incident than from character and situation, making it seem far less pretentious than most films of its kind. Service comedies of this period tend to follow a pattern set by MR. ROBERTS, which was based on a hugely successful stage play and quite reverent to those origins. PETTICOAT is far more spontaneous, so even if plot threads tend to be a bit familiar, its the delivery rather than the content which holds our attention. Of course it doesn't hurt to have Cary Grant at the peak of his powers, hitting all the right notes, balancing the role of naval officer with innate dedication combined with his own charismatic charm and seemingly effortless humor, a performance which is both naturalistic and funny. Curtis, too, had found his groove at this point (he had just completed his tour de force for Billy Wilder, SOME LIKE IT HOT) contributing just the right balance of ingenuousness and star-of-the-month savvy to make his `second banana' role a success. But the lion's share of the credit must go to Blake Edwards, then in the early stages of his most successful period as a master comedy craftsman, boisterous yet sophisticated, among the last of a breed of Hollywood stylists on the rise at a time when the old studio system was nearing its end.


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