12 user 6 critic

Don't Give Up the Ship (1959)

Approved | | Comedy | 3 July 1959 (USA)
John Paul Steckler was the Junior Officer aboard a destroyer when WWII ended. He gets stuck with the job of sailing the ship to the states to be decommissioned. Now years latter, no one ... See full summary »


Norman Taurog


Herbert Baker (screenplay), Edmund Beloin (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Jerry Lewis ... John Paul Steckler I / John Paul Steckler IV / John Paul Steckler VII
Dina Merrill ... Ens. Rita J. Benson
Diana Spencer Diana Spencer ... Prudence Trabert Steckler
Mickey Shaughnessy ... Stan Wychinski
Robert Middleton ... Vice Adm. Philo Tecumseh Bludde
Gale Gordon ... Congressman Mandeville
Mabel Albertson ... Mrs. Trabert
Claude Akins ... Lt. Cmdr. Farber
Hugh Sanders ... Adm. Rogers
Richard Shannon Richard Shannon ... Cmdr. Cross
Chuck Wassil Chuck Wassil ... Cmdr. Craig


John Paul Steckler was the Junior Officer aboard a destroyer when WWII ended. He gets stuck with the job of sailing the ship to the states to be decommissioned. Now years latter, no one knows where the ship is. He has a choice. Find the ship, or pay for it, Now! If only Prudence, to whom he just got married, could understand why he isn't there for his Honeymoon. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ship | honeymoon | navy | train | bunk bed | See All (10) »


How can an officer in his right mind "misplace" a fully-equipped destroyer escort? See more »




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 July 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Himmel, Arsch und Zwirn, fluchte der Leutnant See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Wallis Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The US Navy made use of the time used while the ship and crew were being filmed by conducting training maneuvers cruising through Western and Central Carolines, the Bonins, the northern Marianas and the Volcano islands, all of which were parts of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands administered by the Navy. See more »


After setting out of Pearl Harbor going to San Deigo Steckler realizes he can't see through the binoculars because of the lens covers and removes them dropping them on the deck. However in the next shot you can see his feet on the deck and there are no covers around him where they should have fallen. See more »


Vice Adm. Philo Tecumseh Bludde: This man is the shrewdest, cleverest undercover agent we've ever been up against.
Ens. Rita J. Benson: But, sir, I think he's too dumb to be that smart to play it that stupid.
Vice Adm. Philo Tecumseh Bludde: Say that again.
See more »


References The Caine Mutiny (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

Not bad....although not all that good, either.
21 July 2012 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

I must admit that I am not a huge fan of Jerry Lewis' films. While I've seen all the ones he did with Dean Martin, I have avoided his solo films because (in my opinion) he tended to overact and subtlety was NOT a concern. I think my view is colored by my having seen some of his very worst solo films first. It's hard to watch another Lewis outing after having seen (uggghh!) "Cracking Up" (1983)--a film so bad that it went straight to video and the only movie I've ever watched that made me physically ill (seriously). So, in fairness, I decided to watch a few of his earlier films to see if they are worth seeing.

While I would never say that "Don't Give Up The Ship" was no work of genius, it is a mostly pleasant little film. While Lewis DID occasionally mug and overplay things very badly, for the most part it's a decent little time-passer.

Lewis is a lieutenant in the Navy during the present day. He's just gotten married and is about to embark on his honeymoon when he is arrested and brought to account for a ship he apparently 'lost' back in 1945 when the war ended. Where exactly the boat got to is what the big-wigs want to find out--and it's inexplicable that a ship could be misplaced for a decade and a half until anyone noticed this! Much of the film consists of flashbacks of Lewis during the war (when he was an ensign) as well as his meetings with a psychiatrist (Dina Merrill) who tries to dig into the facts.

For the most part, there are no big laughs at all during this film--none. But, it also is pretty inoffensive as well--but could have been better had Lewis behaved like a relatively believable naval officer. As I said, his mugging and overplaying occasionally made the film tough viewing. But the film isn't bad in a mindless sort of way. Just turn off your brain and enjoy.

By the way, in the underwater diving scene near the end, note that Jerry is sweating--and you can see sweat dribbling off his arms. Yet, he is supposed to be under water! This is a particularly dumb portion of the film (with very a very fake looking shark and octopus). Try to look past this.

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