Starring Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Joan O'Brien, Dina Merrill, Gene Evans, Dick Sargent, Arthur O'Connell, Virginia Gregg, Gavin MacLeod, Marion Ross. Directed by Blake Edwards. (1959, 120 min).
Considering our current cultural climate, there's a scene in Operation Petticoat you probably couldn't get away with today.
The film was a massive hit when first released, with good reason. Its premise - the turmoil caused by five rescued Army nurses onboard a submarine during WWII - is the perfect concept for the type of sex comedies being produced at the time. And who better to helm a farce like this than Blake Edwards, arguably one of the masters of the genre?
Operation Petticoat isn't strictly a sex comedy, though. If you squint real hard, you might even see a tenuous influence on such later, more subversive, war comedies as Kelly's Heroes and M*A*S*H. Still, it's primarily a fluffy farce, and a pretty entertaining one at that. It helps, of course, that one keeps-in-mind when this was made, a time when Tony Curtis aggressively insinuating himself on a reluctant Dina Merrill was perfectly okay...even amusing. You probably couldn't get away with a scene like that today, at least if you're trying to play it for laughs.
|Commander Sherman discovers - the hard way - the difference between a scotch and a lab sample.|
|"Nope...no petticoat in there."|
"That's What Everybody Says About Me" - About director Blake Edwards, featuring daughter Jennifer and actress Leslie Ann Warren.
"The Brave Crew of the Petticoat" - New interviews with Gavin MacLeod and Marion Ross.
"The Captain and His Double: Cary Grant's Struggle of the Self" - Biographer Marc Eliot discusses Grant's upbringing and career.
NEWSREEL FOOTAGE - The film's opening at Radio City Music Hall, attended by Cary Grant
ARCHIVE FOOTAGE - The USS Baloo (the "Sea Tiger" of the film)