Shipmates (1931) Poster


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Entertaining Movie
What a pleasant surprise, I didn't expect anything special from this film, and it's a really entertaining yarn involving the US Navy, with Robert Montgomery in the leading role, as devil-may-care sailor who falls for an Admiral's daughter (Dorothy Jordan).

There are funny, fine, comedy moments, especially between Montgomery and the excellent Ernest Torrence, and also with Cliff Edwards, who impersonates the hero's pal. Also, there's romantic competition and rivalry, involving Montgomery and Gavin Gordon, who plays a Navy Lieutenant in love with Jordan. There are also some fine action moments with battleships and a fire scene.

A worthwhile early talkie, if you catch it on TCM give it a try!
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MartinHafer10 September 2011
I noticed that another reviewer gave this one a 10. I don't get that at all, but it is a decent and enjoyable film.

This film looks like a B-movie in most ways. Although it's from MGM and has a lot of polish, the film features mostly second-tier actors--though you do see a young Robert Montgomery in the lead. He's a sailor on leave when he happens upon a rich guy in a car wreck. He helps the guy and the guy takes him to his own house for a party. The place is full of society folks and naval officers--and they assume Montgomery is just one of them. There he meets a pretty young lady and they become infatuated with each other. HOWEVER, there is a catch--she's the Admiral's daughter. When the Admiral later learns that he's just another sailor and let everyone assume he was more, he's angry and asks his daughter stop seeing him. Will the two manage to STILL fall in love? And what of Montgomery and his naval career? He seems like a bit of a screw-up--can he rise to the occasion? Overall, this seems like a decent but run of the mill military film. It's enjoyable and Montgomery is his usual likable character. The only problem is that the film seems to have a few clichés and the ending, though exciting, makes little sense. could do a lot worse.

By the way, Montgomery's shipmate 'Bilge' is Cliff Edwards--the same guy who provided the original voice for Jiminy Cricket.
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More Navy than usual
bkoganbing28 April 2016
It seems like if you have the name of John Paul Jones you are destined for nothing but a navy career and such is the case with Seaman Robert Montgomery who'd be very happy to spend his entire career on the refueling tender that never leaves the harbor. This is the Depression and many would have envied Montgomery having three squares a day and a place to sleep. But when the admiral's flagship is short a complement of sailors he gets abruptly transferred there with his buddy Cliff Edwards where Montgomery has already made an enemy of Chief Boatswain's Mate Ernest Torrence.

Montgomery and Torrence fall into a rivalry that if this were done over at Warner Brothers a bit later on James Cagney and Pat O'Brien would have fallen into these roles. In fact the plot here is not dissimilar to those other Warner Brothers classics Flirtation Walk and Shipmates Forever which had Dick Powell in them.

It's the flagship so you are constantly reminded that you have to be more Navy than usual. Do you doubt that Montgomery will show he has the right stuff?

After over 80 years Shipmates holds up well as entertainment. I think sailors everywhere will identify with those usual situations even in today's atomic fleet.
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