6.9/10
916
24 user 8 critic

All at Sea (1957)

Barnacle Bill (original title)
Unrated | | Comedy | 21 December 1957 (USA)
A seasick sea Captain commands an amusement pier despite local opposition.

Director:

Charles Frend

Writers:

T.E.B. Clarke (story), T.E.B. Clarke (screenplay)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alec Guinness ... Capt. William Horatio Ambrose
Harry Locke Harry Locke ... Reporter
Frederick Piper Frederick Piper ... Barman
Fred Griffiths Fred Griffiths ... Bus Driver
Gerald Case Gerald Case ... Commander
William Mervyn William Mervyn ... Captain
John Horsley ... First Surgeon
Derek Waring Derek Waring ... Second Surgeon
Donald Pleasence ... Cashier
Newton Blick Newton Blick ... Bank Manager
Irene Browne ... Mrs. Barrington
Percy Herbert ... Tommy
Victor Maddern ... Figg
Harold Goodwin ... Duckworth
Junia Crawford Junia Crawford ... Evie
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Storyline

Captain Ambrose comes from a long line of distinguished sailors, but is all too susceptible to seasickness. After the war, he buys himself a nautical command on shore, a decrepit amusement pier at the British resort town Sandcastle-on-Sea, whose prim town council has outlawed arcade games as a form of gambling. Running the pier like a Naval vessel, the Captain's determination to make it a modern, going concern meets steady opposition. But with an unexpected new ally, he pursues a remarkable scheme to liberate his "ship" from land authorities. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The captain preferred the merry times on land to the mermaids at sea !

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Alec Guinness only made this movie as a favor for his friend, Director Charles Frend. He later referred to this movie as "wretched". See more »

Goofs

When Captain Ambrose arrives in France, a close-up shot shows him taking the cotton wool out of his ears. In the next shot the cotton wool is still in his ears. See more »

Quotes

Figg: Is that how they do it in the Navy, sir?
Capt. William Horatio Ambrose: I take it you are never in the service, Figg?
Figg: I never wanted to be. I've spent all my life on a dredger and if you're going to run this pier like a battleship, I shall be sorry I left it.
Capt. William Horatio Ambrose: Well, I am going to run it like a battleship. All the best piers in the country or run naval-style and, under my command, Sandcastle pier will be no exception. I shan't be satisfied until everything is ship-... er... pier-shape and Blackpool-fashion.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Against a background of high seas, the opening credit text rolls with the waves, up off the screen and down under water, with motion so realistic it almost makes the audience seasick. See more »

User Reviews

 
Alec Guinness at sea
12 January 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Anything from Ealing Studios promises a lot from the get go. Their films tend to be funny (hilarious at their best), charming and well made with great actors with a gift for comic timing. Am especially fond of 'The Ladykillers', 'The Man in the White Suit', 'The Lavender Hill Mob' and my favourite 'Kind Hearts and Coronets'. So of course one would expect a lot before watching any of their work.

The last Ealing comedy, and the last film Alec Guinness made with them, 'Barnacle Bill' is far from one their best. For me, it is one of their weaker films and does lack some of the things that make the studio's work so good at their peak. Despite how this sounds, 'Barnacle Bill' (or 'All at Sea') didn't strike me as a bad film, actually considering Guinness himself absolutely hated the film, referring to it later as "wretched", and only did it for a favour it was in a way better than expected in that regard. Even if it didn't work for me, would certainly not dislike it as vehemently as Guinness did.

'Barnacle Bill' does lack some of the wit and bite of Ealing at their best. Not that it is never there, just not as much or as effectively.

Some of the story, with echos of previous Ealing Studios (an obvious one being their masterpiece 'Kind Hearts and Coronets') felt contrived, especially in a few of the flashbacks. And the ending is not really much of one at all.

However, 'Barnacle Bill' is well made with handsome sets and photography particularly. It's whimiscally and lushly scored and Charles Frend keeps much of the film moving along nicely. It does have quite a number of amusing to very funny moments, that didn't feel over-stretched or tired, and has an immense charm throughout.

While not a tour-De-force as such (like his performance in 'Kind Hearts and Coronets'), the ever reliable Guinness shows authority and immaculate comic timing as multiple characters. The rest of the cast do well though nobody gets anything meaty as such.

Overall, lesser Ealing but still decent Ealing. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 December 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

All at Sea See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$659,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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