Thursday, February 14, 2008

Operation Petticoat (1959)

Cary Grant just keeps working!

Here he is in 1959 playing the captain of a submarine in a tough spot. I'm a little hazy on the details, but somehow this luckless submarine has never seen a battle and yet has too many mechanical problems to be approved to go back into action. Nevertheless, they need to get it under way.

There is a lot of comedy at the expense of the way the Navy runs things. All about requisitioning toilet paper and the black market for parts and supplies. Tony Curtis plays the man adept at working back channels to get things.

The sub ends up taking off without it's proper top coat of paint, so it's pink. Then Tony Curtis convinces the captain to take some WAC nurses on board for the ride. And - you guessed it! - hilarity ensues.

There is a lot of entertainment in young Tony Curtis and mature Cary Grant playing off each other. There is plenty of sexism (and racism where the islanders of the South Pacific are concerned) to go around and the whole movie just gets very silly when they go into battle with the women aboard.

However, there are redeeming points including:

- A scene in which Cary Grant demands Tony Curtis give up his tight white tennis shorts for regular army gear.
- A female engineer teaching a male engineer a thing or two.
- An indescribible scene with a pig being passed off as a soldier.

Two stars - and yet it is a MUST watch.


Amy said...

I agree about it being a must-watch. I get sucked into watching it every time it pops up on Turner Classic Movies . . . I can't just help it!

Jessica said...

Yes, I laughed a lot. I especially enjoyed Cary Grant's reaction to the stolen pig in the shower... and the way he so suavely tortured Tony Curtis for having stolen it.