Series: Charley Chase

Director: James Parrott
Producer: Hal Roach
Dialogue: H.M. Walker
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: Elmer Raguse

Stars: Charley Chase, Thelma Todd, Carlton Griffin
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 25 April 1931
Length: 3 reels
Production No.: C-38E
Filming dates: January 9-24, 1931
Rating: 4/10

Rough Seas

Available on DVD:

See also Monerias

Charley and his Ranch Boys pals are on their way to the dock to catch a ship which is late in departing on account of them. With the driver not paying attention to the road they all end up driving off the pier and into the sea. They are met by an angry Lieutenant Griffin who gives them all a bollocking and orders them aboard the ship. Charley has a monkey with him and is told he must leave it behind which leads to a tearful departure between them. Unbeknownst to Charley however, the monkey manages to stowaway on board the ship via a crane he climbs onto. Charley tells his pals that he is waiting for Antoinette (Thelma Todd) to join him so that they can go back to America and get married. Charley leaves the ship to greet Antoinette who shows him all of the stuff she wants to travel with, including a baby's crib. Charley makes her leave it all behind.
The guys on the boat begin singing to Charley and Antoinette and Charley takes over the vocals by serenading her. This is broken up by Lt. Griffin who kicks Charley up the backside and orders him to get the laundry on board the ship immediately so Charley stuffs Antoinette into a laundry sack and smuggles her onboard. As he walks onto the ship her leg pokes through the sack, arousing suspicion among onlookers, including Griffin who tries to stop him until Griffin is struck by an out-swinging door. Charley is reunited with his monkey whilst Antoinette waits for Charley to rescue her from a laundry basket as he sends the monkey to liberate some clothing for her by sending the monkey into rooms to fetch items of clothes.
Charley delivers the soldiers clothes to Antoinette and she dresses in them, though leaving her high-heeled shoes on! At this point the captain decides to run a fire drill to test the efficiency of the crew. As the soldiers line up on parade it is quickly observed that one of them is missing his boots. After the captain chews Griffin out for interfering with the running of the ship he requests (for some reason) that Charley and his comrades sing a song especially for him: Asleep In The Deep. The song is played with Charley singing in a bass tone. All goes well until he tries to hit the bottom note! (see favourite bit). The usually-bad tempered captain congratulates Charley on his singing but asks why one of the guys (Jimmie) was not singing? Charley recalls his shooting accident (as told in the first film) where he was shot in the Adam's apple. The ship's doctor overhears this and offers to help Jimmie.
The next set of sequences are just bizarre: Charley throwing a bucket of water over Private Cooke who is on a lower deck; and then over the captain too. (???) So, the doctor 'fixes' Jimmie's barritone voice, but it doesn't quite sound right and the guys chase the doctor off the ship, causing him to jump overboard. Griffin finds Antoinette dressed as a soldier and threatens to "expose her" (!!) but he tries to reason with her if she agrees to get closer to him. The captain overhears this takes pity on her. The final scenes in this rather disjointed shambles of a film has Charley serenading Antoinette on the deck of the ship under the moonlight with his rendition of You Are The Ideal Of My Dreams before the monkey blows up a nearby ship when it pulls the chord to ignite a cannon upon which Charley and Antoinette are - or rather WERE sitting on. We end with Charley and Antoinette wedged inside two portholes.

Favourite bit
It comes after Charley hits that low, low note whilst performing "Asleep In The Deep". We cut to the sound of the ship blowing its stack. Very funny.

Copyrighted March 19, 1931.
This film is a sequel to High C's (1930).
A four reel Spanish version entitled Monerias was filmed January 26-30, 1931. This verion was prod. C-38-S, and was released in Mexico on April 8, 1931, and in Barcelona, Spain, on September 30, 1931.
As Charley and his pals are on their way to the boat at the beginning of the film, the car they are travelling in crosses London Bridge in London, England. You can see this because Tower Bridge is clearly visible in the distance. See here.
Listen out for a brief nod to Laurel & Hardy's theme song, the Cuckoo when Charley sees Antoinette's belongings and the camera points to a cuckoo clock. This is around the 5 minutes mark.
Given that this film is supposedly a sequel to High C's, it seems odd that Otto Fries' character switches from being a German soldier to being an Allied soldier?
Songs featured in the film: When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Linda Francesita, Asleep In The Deep and You Are The Ideal Of My Dreams.
As usual, the director manages to get an ample number of close-up shots on Thelma Todd's face throughout the film.
Charley's monkey is called Napoleon. That's right, Napoleon.
There are carpeted rugs in the corridors on the ship. Why?
The credits at the beginning of the film mis-spell Carlton Griffin's name as "Carleton".
When Lt. Griffin finds Antoinette on board he says to her "I could expose you!" Well, that would have improved the film, in my opinion!
My opinion
Very disappointing, poorly edited and a mess of a film. It's just stupid. Hardly any of it makes sense and Thelma Todd, for once, manages to keep her cleavage unseen, which is a welcome relief!

Charley Chase
Private Charley Chase
Thelma Todd
Carlton Griffin
Jimmie Adams
Private Jimmie Adams
Frank Gage
Private Frank Gage
Marvin Hatley
Private Marvin Hatley
Baldwin Cooke
Private Cooke
Harry Bernard
Officer on deck
Frank Brownlee
Ship's captain
Otto Fries
Private Otto Fries
Charlie Hall
Doughboy on deck
Ham Kinsey
Doughboy on deck
Jack Hill
Doughboy on deck
Silas D. Wilcox
Ship's officer
Jerry Mandy
Ship's doctor
Art Stevenson
Vern Trimble
One of The Ranch Boys


CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
The Charley Chase Talkies 1929-1940 by James L. Neibaur (book)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Art Stevenson)

This page was last updated on: 26 January 2023