Life becomes so harried after Ensign Pulver's prank, he and the Captain are swept off deck during a storm, ending up on a tropical island, a group of ship wrecked nurses, dancing natives and 1 very big case of appendicitis.
1945, on an old cargo ship somewhere deep in the Pacific ocean: Captain Morton strives to become commander, so he demands the maximum quality of work from his crew, without granting them any freedom or favors - ignoring that they're thousand of miles away from the front. In one word: he drives his crew crazy. They are near mutiny, but no-one dares to do the first step. Until Ensign Pulver plays a prank on the captain that triggers fatal consequences... Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
After Burl Ives falls overboard, Ensign Pulver releases a rubber raft to assist in the Captain's rescue. When the raft falls into the water, it obviously falls upside down, however, in the next shot it appears that the raft is upright and all of the equipment is still aboard. See more »
[the crew goes wild when liberty is announced]
What the hell is happening?
Metamorphosis! Vegetables are turning into men!
See more »
If ever there was a great movie that did NOT cry out for a sequel, it was "Mister Roberts," with its gruff, poignant, perfect ending. A bad sequel like "Ensign Pulver" is particularly disappointing.
The setting here is the same as in the earlier classic -- a scroungy old Navy vessel on the fringes of the Pacific Theater late in World War II. This movie is built around Ensign Frank Pulver, the sidekick of Mister Roberts in the original movie. Unfortunately, Robert Walker Jr., who plays Pulver here, can't match the original screen Pulver, Jack Lemmon. It's almost like they're playing different people.
That's the main problem, I think, too much tinkering with familiar characters. The focus of "Mister Roberts" was the battle of wits and wills between the idealistic Roberts (Henry Fonda) and the embittered captain (James Cagney). But in this film, the captain (now played by Burl Ives) finds himself psychoanalyzed by Pulver. Cagney's captain was hard to like but easy to understand, while Ives' version is as complicated as a Tennessee Williams character.
And how about Doc? In "Mister Roberts," he was portrayed by an older actor, William Powell, in one of his last roles. A counterpoint to the captain, Doc was a man who had grown wise, not cynical, with age. Walter Matthau, though a fine actor, is a much younger Doc in this one, and one who's not particularly wise. He's just another madcap guy in a madcap crew.
"Mister Roberts" had a lot of wonderful laughs, but ultimately it was dead serious about World War II. If you've seen it, you know what I mean. But in "Ensign Pulver," the greatest conflict in history is just an excuse for humdrum hijinks. It's really too bad.
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