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You Know What Sailors Are (1954)

Approved | | Comedy | 4 November 1954 (USA)
A fun frolic involving a fake secret weapon (accidentally created during a drinking bout), naval bureaucracy, political maneuvering and the hareem and palace of the exotic eastern country of Agraria.


Ken Annakin


Edward Hyams (novel), Peter Rogers


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Akim Tamiroff ... President of Agraria
Donald Sinden ... Lt. Sylvester Green
Sarah Lawson ... Betty
Naunton Wayne ... Captain Owbridge
Bill Kerr ... Lt. Smart
Dora Bryan ... Gladys
Martin Miller Martin Miller ... Prof. Hyman Pfumbaum
Michael Shepley ... Admiral
Michael Hordern ... Captain Hamilton
Ferdy Mayne ... Stanislaus Voritz of Smorznigov
Bryan Coleman Bryan Coleman ... Lt. Comdr. Voles
Cyril Chamberlain Cyril Chamberlain ... Stores Officer
Hal Osmond Hal Osmond ... Stores Petty Officer
Peter Arne ... Ahmed
Sara Leighton Sara Leighton ... Jasmin (as Shirley Lorimer)


Lt. Sylvester Green is making his crooked way shipwards with a couple of naval colleagues after a night's drinking and along the way they collect an old pram and three brass balls from a pawnbroker's shop. Passing the foreign vessel Agraria on the dock they notice some welding equipment and decide to have some fun. They attach the junk to the Agraria and paint it naval grey. Next morning when Green unsteadily arises his commanding officer has noticed the mysterious new equipment and trying to avoid exposure Green identifies it confidently as a '998'. From then on things only get more confused as soon everyone in the navy wants to know why this foreign ship has more up-to-date radar than they do. Green is coincidentally seconded to the Agraria as a radar instructor and soon (through the magical power of coincidence) the Agrarians (and everyone else) believe it is a powerful secret weapon. Green is held prisoner in the rather pleasant environment of the Agrarian palace where the ... Written by Seán Ó Séaghdha

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »


Just imagine them set loose in a HAREM! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 November 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Endstation Harem See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Referenced in An Evening with... Peter Rogers (2005) See more »


Ship Ahoy! (All The Nice Girls Love A Sailor)
Written by A.J. Mills and Bennett Scott
See more »

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User Reviews

A Joke Based On Wish Fulfillment
17 March 2005 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

This movie is about my age...we both came out in 1954.

It was the height of the cold war, and the possibility of mutual annihilation by the West and East was there. It would not be laid to rest until it nearly culminated eight years later with the mushroom clouds of the Cuban Missile Crisis. And shortly after that came the ultimate "black comedy" about the period, "Dr. Strangelove". But this film came earlier, in a slightly more hopeful period. Stalin had died a year before, so the Soviet Union looked a little less threatening. Not much, but a little. The invasion of Hungary and the crushing of its revolution in 1956 ended that image.

The hope in this film is based on one concept - suppose the Russians suddenly believed that their missiles were worthless due to some new weapon. In this film it is a device that looks like a tricycle with three brass balls connected by a broken umbrella frame. Actually it is precisely that - a piece of junk thrown together by two sailors as part of a lark, and attached to their warship. Naturally it excites the interest of the Russians. It also intrigues Akim Tamiroff, the President of the country that the British warship is visiting. He manages to purloin it (the sailors can't do much about it - after all it is not actually real naval equipment). Tamiroff is afraid that a Russian backed neighboring country may take over his because of their missiles. His country has none. He does have Martin Miller, a kindly, eccentric physicist who examines the device and pronounces it useless. But he and Tamiroff note the Russian interest in it - and decide to take advantage of it. And by a skillful bit of a scam, they convince the Russians and the neighboring country that atomic missiles are useless against the new device.

It is a charming little comedy, with bits of in-jokes (Tamiroff and Miller begin a conversation with the former saying, "Since you don't understand my language, we'll communicate in pidgin English."). It should be revived, to remind us of what we feared the most, and what we wished to end as though it were all a bad dream.

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