Petticoat Pirates is a perfectly innocuous British comedy completely ruined by the insertion of popular TV comedian Charlie Drake into the action. This was Associated British Picture Corporation's second attempt to propel Drake to movie stardom following the previous year's "Sands of the Desert". This time ABPC were not only filming in colour, but also in CinemaScope (at a time when Rank were only granting their big comedy star Norman Wisdom, massive at the box office, black and white 1.75:1). The plot revolves around a Women's Royal Naval Service base, the chief of which has been lobbying for WRENs to serve at sea (an advanced concept for 1961!). When the admirals refuse, the WREN's take over a frigate one quiet night and put to sea. Surprisingly, the plot does not involve the women being hopeless and having to be rescued by men (although there is a rather patronising sequence involving seasickness) and the results of the WRENs efforts require the admiral to eat his words. Interspersed with this action, in a totally haphazard way, are various scenes with Drake (who's character is imaginatively named Charlie Drake) involving his trademark slapstick and all totally irrelevant to the story. If this had been shot in black and white in the standard ratio it would probably be remembered fondly along with the host of other British comedies of the era, the insertion of Drake, however, kills it stone dead.
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