Director: Kurt Neumann
Producer: Fred Guiol
Executive producer: Hal Roach
Screenplay: Eugene Conrad, Edward E. Seabrook
Photography: Robert S. Pittack
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Music: Edward Ward
Art director: Charles D. Hall
Sound: William Randall
Stars: William Tracy, Joe Sawyer, Marjorie Woodworth, Minor Watson, Frank Faylen, Walter Woolf King, Romaine Callender, Robert Kent
Company: United Artists
Released: 25 June 1943
Length: 6 reels
Production No.: F-53
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So, here we are for the fifth time at Camp Carver where the soldiers are called into a briefing with Colonel Elliott for a mission overseas. Sgt. Doubleday is upset when he is dismissed from the meeting for not being needed but when he provides some crucial information from memory to assist the colonel he is suddenly needed again. As the soldiers prepare to board their vessel at the docks Doubleday and Ames get themselves acquainted with a beautiful nurse, Phyllis Arden who is going aboard. An accident results in her baggage being dropped and the two sergeants scrambling to pick up all of her clothing before Ames is dropped into the sea accidentally by the baggage handler. On board the boat Ames warns Doubleday to keep away from Phyllis as she belongs to him. Ames takes delight in making fun of all the soldiers on the boat suffering with sea sickness until he realises Phyllis offfering personal attention to the sick, so he gets the idea to fake illness.
His pathetic attempts to feign sickness are quickly cured when Doubleday forces one his pills into Ames' mouth as he is getting some comfort from the nurse! Doubleday reports to the bridge where he is mocked by the quartermaster for asking dumb questions, but one look at the charts and he memorizes the entire thing, much to the intrigue of the captain who sees him. However, Doubleday kind of lets himself down a bit when he climbs the crows nest to get some crows eggs for the captain, as per the advice of the quartermaster. That evening Phyllis joins Doubleday on deck as they share an almost romantic encounter, looking at the moon's reflection on the sea when Doubleday spots a flashing signal coming from the cliffs and (correctly) suspects it could be a code. Unable to sleep that night Doubleday reports to the captain with what he saw, while Ames reports to Captain Gillis about Doubleday's strange behaviour. He never misses a trick.
Doubleday recites the coded signal to the captain and is commended for doing so. Ames is shamed for reporting him as being ill as the captain suspects a saboteur to be on board and orders his officers to apprehend him. Ames is on night watch and thinks he has found the man they are looking for when he sees a man with a package that ticks. He doesn't realise it is the arrogant quartermaster with an alarm clock so he decides to follow him to the bridge before assaulting him and throwing the package overboard. With nobody steering the ship, Doubleday takes over and tries to steer through challenging waters until the captain discovers Ames's mistake and confronts Doubleday at the wheel. The captain praises Doubleday's actions and immediately stips Ames of his sergeant's stripes. Eager to get revenge, Ames encourages Doubleday to climb down a funnel to apprehend the supposed saboteur not knowing it leads to the nurses's quarters where they are all sleeping.
When Phyllis discovers Doubleday in her bed she screams, alerting the other officers to come to her rescue, led by Ames of course. Doubleday is caught and demoted to peeling onions the next day and despite his pleas to explain himself Phyllis doesn't want to know. Even Ames takes pity on Doubleday when he sees him crying and offers to come clean to the captain about dropping him in it, until he sees Doubleday is actually crying because of the onions he is peeling. The ship's cook (a familiar face) calls to Doubleday to keep an eye on his fishing rod while he leaves for a moment. Doubleday and Ames take control of the fishing line when it starts hinting it has caught something big. It's so big the two of them end up jumping into a lifeboat and sailing off into the sea just to keep up with whatever is on the end of the line. It turns out to be a Japanese submarine! Doubleday and Ames capture the sub and apprehend the Japs before making them row back to their ship. But they quickly find themselves under fire until the captain realises it is them. Back on the ship the captain discovers the enemy log book on the Jap soldiers and praises Doubleday and Ames as he restores them back to their former ranks of sergeant.
When Doubleday and Quartermaster Jenkins have their "crows eggs" conversation at the bridge of the ship.
• Copyrighted October 15, 1942.
• Also listed for June 29, 1943.
• Of the six films in the series, this is by far the longest.
• On the deck of the ship when Ames hides inside the trunk you can clearly see the sky is a painted backdrop.
• This scene with the boat is reversed. You can see the 15 and 16 are back-to-front.
• A handful of actors in this film had appeared previously in the last four in the series. Two examples being Frank Faylen and Dick Wessel, who once again show up in completely different roles as from before.
• The characters of Captain Gillis and Colonel Elliott reappear in this film both played by different actors from the previous film, "Fall In".
• The ship is called the U.S.S. Montaine.
• There is definitely more than just a hint of Laurel & Hardy in the Ames & Doubleday relationship here. Laurel and Hardy had been gone from the Hal Roach Studios for two years when this film was made.
• James Finlayson makes a surprise appearance at the end as the ship's cook. His one brief scene lasts about 10 seconds and was his last in a Hal Roach film.
What the experts say
• "A change of pace was certainly needed for the series and it offered some promise when the army was taken out of the camp environment and out to sea. But the whole thing just plods along without much direction. I won't lie though, the sight of James Finlayson at the end was a really heartwarming feeling." ~ Lord Heath.
Sgt. Dorian 'Dodo' Doubleday
|Walter Woolf King
|Marga Ann Deighton
|Alan Hale Jr.
|Fred Kohler Jr.
Sailor swabbing deck
Soldier in hammock
Ship cargo seaman
Japanese submarine officer
Sailor calling 'Battle Stations'
Officer at briefing
(click any image to enlarge)
David Kawals/ClassicFlix (supplying DVD for review)
This page was last updated on: 13 April 2020