5.9/10
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Ensign Pulver (1964)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, War | 31 July 1964 (USA)
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 one very big case of appendicitis.

Director:

Joshua Logan

Writers:

Thomas Heggen (based on a play by), Joshua Logan (based on a play by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Walker Jr. ... Ensign Frank Pulver (as Robert Walker)
Burl Ives ... Captain Morton
Walter Matthau ... Doc
Tommy Sands ... Bruno
Millie Perkins ... Scotty
Kay Medford ... Head Nurse
Larry Hagman ... Billings
Peter Marshall ... Carney (as Peter L. Marshall)
Joseph Marr Joseph Marr ... Dowdy
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ... LaSueur (as Gerald O'Loughlin)
Diana Sands ... Mila
Robert Matek Robert Matek ... Stretch
Jack Nicholson ... Yeoman Dolan
Al Freeman Jr. ... Taru
Dick Gautier ... Stefanowski (as Richard Gautier)
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Following in the hilarious fun-steps of "Mister Roberts"

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 July 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Pulver and the Captain See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie viewed by the crew, "Young Dr. Jekyll Meets Frankenstein", never existed. It was fabricated by matching some newly made shots into existing footage from The Walking Dead (1936) a Warner Brothers release starring Boris Karloff and Edmund Gwenn. Karloff and Gwenn are credited on the screen, as is another actor, Morgan Paull, who appears in some of the new shots. Paull's on-screen credit reads "And Introducing Morgan Paull as Young Dr. Jekyll". See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the scene where Captain Morton and Ensign Pulver are adrift and Morton begins telling the story of when his wife left him, a boat is visible on the horizon. See more »

Quotes

Doc: [Ens. Pulver has been telling Doc about scaring the captain off the ship] "Scare the captain off this ship"! Don't dream. Don't dream!
Ens. Frank Pulver: Stop talking like somebody's father! What about you? You don't even dream!
Doc: Touché, Frank. I'm a vegetable. Eggplants don't dream, do they?
Doc: [mimicking a child's voice] And what did you do in the Great War, daddy?
Doc: [normal voice] I sat on a ship, paralyzed, and watched men rot.
Doc: I'm kaput. But you've got a potential. A destructive nature. And what do you do with it? ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Stardust Memories (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Sentimental Journey
(uncredited)
Music by Les Brown and Ben Homer
Lyrics by Bud Green
Sung with revised lyrics by the sailors at the beginning
See more »

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User Reviews

Making this sequel was really going overboard
1 October 2010 | by gerdeen-1See all my reviews

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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