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Operation Petticoat
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Reviews & Ratings for
Operation Petticoat More at IMDbPro »

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Index 52 reviews in total 

30 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Good Laughs, Interesting Cast

8/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
1 July 2006

As with most movies from a different era, the attitudes are quite different. Feminists would hate this movie, if they saw it today. Hollywood would never make it now in first place, unless roles were reversed and men were made to look like sex objects. That would meet PC double standards.

Nonetheless, agendas aside, there is a lot of good humor in here; the story is interesting, and you get a well-known cast with Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Dina Merrill, Arthur O'Connell, Gavin MacLeod and Marian Ross. The latter went on to be big names on television more than movies, MacLeod on "Mary Tyler Moore" and Ross on "Happy Days."

This was Happy Days on a ship, at least when some attractive women board the vessel. Grant has the best lines in the film - speaking lines, that is. Good entertainment. Lots of laughs before the PC made it impossible to laugh at anything, including ourselves.

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25 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

We All Live In A Pink Submarine

9/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
31 March 2007

In Tony Curtis's filmed tribute to Cary Grant for TCM he made much of his well known idolatry of the man who made him want to become an actor. As a kid growing up in the mean streets of New York, young Bernie Schwartz saw in Cary Grant all he ever wanted to be up there on the silver screen.

During naval service on board a submarine in World War II he got to see Cary Grant in Warner Brothers Destination Tokyo. As Curtis said, life has a funny way of working things out. What happens; Tony Curtis gets to star with Grant years later in a World War II service comedy that is set aboard a submarine.

Destination Tokyo was not one of Grant's best films, but Operation Petticoat definitely is. Right after World War II starts, Grant's new ship, the Tigerfish is sunk right in her berth in a remote Pacific Island. Grant persuades Admiral Robert Simon to make whatever repairs he can and try and get the ship back to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

Among other things Grant gets is a new officer Tony Curtis who hasn't exactly seen much sea duty, but he's quite the operator. The two develop quite an interesting relationship on the voyage.

And it's one thing after another on that memorable shakedown cruise back to Pearl Harbor. But Cary Grant is as unflappable and charming as ever, though even he seems a bit put out at times.

There are some pretty hilarious moments in Operation Petticoat, the sinking of a truck, the painting of the Tigerfish pink and then having to leave it that way until Pearl Harbor. And who can forget how they are saved from friendly fire at the climax of the film.

Operation Petticoat was one of the biggest commercial and critical hits that Cary Grant had in Hollywood. Coming right after North By Northwest it could well be argued this was the high point of his career.

The film holds up very well today, I think today's audience would laugh just as hard as they did in 1959.

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24 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Top talent makes this a winner.

Author: (celluloidrabbit) from honolulu, hawaii
6 April 2004

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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23 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

I can't find enough good things to say about this movie

Author: Gatorman9
14 September 2003

Directed by Blake Edwards (well-known for the "Pink Panther" series, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Great Race, "10", Victor/Victoria, and many others), this is an expertly-executed comedy with plenty of visual humor as well a "boat-load" of dry wisecracks and suggestive innuendo for the veteran cast to exploit, seemingly presaging the early 1960's sex comedies. Apparently inspired by the real-life adventures of the American submarines SEALION, SEADRAGON, and SPEARFISH, as well as humorous anecdotes adopted from other submarines, and technically advised by retired wartime submarine commander Rear Admiral Lucius M. Chappel, in a "funny" and sometimes subtle way it may be the most realistic movie about US submarines in World War II ever made.

Plot outline: immediately following Pearl Harbor the Japanese prepare to invade the American-occupied Philippine Islands, and during an air raid on the Cavite naval base there, sink the almost brand-new submarine SEA TIGER. Nevertheless, her aggressive and professional yet equally human commander, Matt Sherman - played with admirable credibility by Cary Grant - is not about to take this lying down. After persuading the squadron commodore to give him the go-ahead, he and the remnants of his ship's company - diminished due to transfers made because of the boat's sunken condition - succeed in raising her from the harbor bottom and commence getting her seaworthy enough to escape to Australia before the pending Japanese assault. Unfortunately their repair efforts, already daunting enough, are impossibly impeded by an apparently bureaucratically-based shortage of crucial spare parts and supplies - even toilet paper (a gag in the film rendered nearly verbatim from the true-life experience of the submarine SKIPJACK).

At this point Tony Curtis enters as Lt. Nick Holden (the character's name calling to mind actor William Holden's patented self-indulgent bad-boy persona). Having grown up in a neighborhood called "Noah's Ark" ("you traveled in pairs or you just didn't travel"), our Lt. Holden is an accomplished back-alley maneuverer who joined the Navy for the prestige of the uniform and what it can get him (in particular, a certain Miss "Super Chief"). Alas, having secured for himself a cushy job as an admiral's aid sent ahead to Manila to prepare for his admiral's later arrival, the sudden outbreak of the war results in the cancellation of the admiral's transfer and all Mr. Holden's carefully manipulated plans are sent completely awry. Thus being at loose ends he finds himself assigned as a replacement officer to the SEA TIGER. Faced with the alternative of being stuck on Bataan to endure the oncoming Japanese conquest, he sees it is in his best interest to make up for the seagoing experience he has managed to avoid up to this point in his naval career by becoming the boat's Supply Officer and securing everything the captain needs to get "the . . . submarine" out of there and to someplace where he can get a better deal.

Although thoroughly uncomfortable with this new addition to the wardroom of his ship, Captain Sherman is so solidly dedicated to his responsibilities as the boat's commander that he is willing to make "a pact with the Devil" to get her going again and so Lt. Holden, allied with his handpicked detail of "scavengers" - Seaman Hunkle (Gavin McLeod), a sailor only known as "The Prophet {of Doom}," and of course the trusty (or at least reliable and punctilious) marine Sergeant Ramon Gallardo ("there isn't a burglar, swindler, pickpocket, or fence in the islands that doesn't know, love, and respect him") - commences a supply procurement program which might most charitably be characterized as unorthodox - or less charitably as just plain felonious. But he really hits his high point when he manages to "scavenge" five stranded Army nurses and convince the captain that he has to take them aboard. From then on the film becomes Cary Grant's battle to get his groaning, belching, backfiring, spit-and-bailing-wire-patched submarine safely to Australia while avoiding any "exchange of information" concerning "the facts of life" between the crew and their guests.

His struggle is complicated all the more by his continual personal encounters with the almost terminally accident-prone but especially well-endowed young nurse Dolores Crandall (in the words of the "Chief of the Boat," Malumphry - "if you wanna know what you're fightin' for - there's your answer") who for all her blunders unintentionally winds up saving the boat and all aboard. As if to highlight the unconventionality of their situation along the way they manage to wind up with the vessel painted pink (don't ask me how - just try to believe I actually saw a performance nearly identical to Malumphry's in reaction to a similar problem aboard a real-life nuclear ballistic missile submarine around 1980), have to set up a maternity ward, complete with goat ("the children will need fresh milk"), and accomplish the unique induction of "Seaman Hornsby" into his brief but flavorful naval career. The plot is actually developed in the form of a flashback from about 1960 allowing it to end with a slightly sentimental and amusing bit of a twist. Clean and wholesome while still being thoroughly adult ("when a man is tired and irritable you can be sure there's one thing he's not getting enough of -- vitamins and minerals"), you can watch this one with your kids - maybe even after they've reached their cynical adolescent years.

Note: the use of the brackets {} above in place of the stylistically correct square brackets was made necessary by some IMDb format change that made use of the correct brackets impossible. Hopefully they will not eliminate other commonly used symbols in future updates simply because the people they employ never got better than a "C" in junior high school English class and don't know what they are for.

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22 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Works Quite Well as Light Entertainment

Author: Snow Leopard from Ohio
1 November 2004

As long as you don't expect anything substantial, "Operation Petticoat" works quite well as light entertainment, thanks to a lively script with some pretty good material, two good leading performances by Tony Curtis and Cary Grant, and a solid supporting cast. While the whole story has very limited plausibility, it has its own internal logic and consistency, rather like the better of the more manic screwball comedies of an even earlier era.

The submarine setting is used creatively, and it has just enough realistic detail to keep it from getting too silly. Grant and Curtis have rather different styles, yet they work well together in setting the right tone for everything, and in involving the rest of the cast. While it would be hard to single out any of the other cast members, since none of them have a particularly large or important role, they all do well enough, and they make the secondary characters a solid part of the story.

There are plenty of amusing highlights, such as the pink paint and Curtis's scrounging expeditions. For all that it is just fluff, it fits together well, making for an entertaining, unpretentious movie.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Curtis and Grant at their peak.

Author: redservo from North Carolina
9 August 2003

A wry and lighthearted look at the U.S. Navy in 1941. Cary Grant and Tony Curtis shine amongst a wonderful supporting cast in this fictional story inspired by an actual incident that occurred during WWII. So many war movies are depressing, while others are completely ridiculous. This film, while full of sexual innuendo and lighthearted humor, still manages to keep it's humanity, with one foot planted firmly in the reality of the Pacific theater.

A jaunty tale of an injured sub, a few army nurses, a group of lonely sailors, and some pink paint. The direction is above par for the time period and genre, the writing is bright and witty, even for today's standards, and the performances are thoroughly entertaining.

This is a recommended must-see for fans of Curtis and Grant. Grab the popcorn and soda and enjoy! I give this charming 1959 classic a 7 out of 10.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Great movie a must for your dvd collection "a classic"

Author: bzgolfss from Somerset Kentucky
19 November 2002

I thought the movie was quiet delightful. A classic for the whole family Brought back alot of great memories as a child. Not a war movie for the serious war buff's. Two thumbs up. Glad I found this one!!

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18 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Smooth Sailing

Author: (sky3walker@aol.com) from California
26 June 2002

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.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A just sit back and enjoy family film!

Author: RJHaas from Richmond, Texas
13 March 1999

This movie was made in 1959???!!! My kids just love this movie and learned something of W.W.II, too. Great fun and somewhat hysterical; uh historical. During Vietnam era we had some days as these. A few anyway. The best ones I remember. Kind of takes some of the stress off real war tragedy. Well made and edited. Easy to follow and understand. Can be watched repeatedly. Grant at his usual best with company as "North By Northwest" , "Father Goose" and the like. Great, well made movies the younger fans can understand and enjoy.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Among the Finest Blake Edwards films made.

9/10
Author: ozthegreatat42330 from Central City, Kentucky
14 February 2007

I have read this film called "fluff" with which I can most certainly not agree. I first saw in in first run forty seven years ago and it remains just as fresh and delightful today after many more viewings. Tony Curtis is at his very best in this picture as a shore-side con man reassigned to sea duty aboard the USS Sea Tiger in the opening days of WWII. Suave Cary Grant is as always flawless in his performance as the captain of the badly damaged sub, trying to keep it in the war with bailing wire and sealing wax. Edwards uses tight camera shots, well cut to maintain the illusion of the claustrophobic conditions of the sub, and witty dialog to keep the plot rolling. The chemistry between the principals and the supporting cast make this one of the best ever. That Edwars would go on to many other comedy triumphs is not at all surprising after seeing this film. I must see for anyone with a funny bone.

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