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Navy office workers scheme to build a recreation hall on a remote Pacific island.
On the South Pacific island of Tulura, pompous ex-stockbroker Lt. Cmdr. Clinton T. Nash, a sailor who has never left land, heads up the Naval public relations department with a small staff of "dry land sailors." To counter Adm. Boatwright's opinion that the department is a bunch of "oddballs and freaks," Nash assigns his men various tasks to assuage the demanding correspondents and promote a romantic, albeit false, picture of the Tuluran people as quaint natives with their own language. While taking two junketing congressman on an island tour, Lt. Max Siegel, the only member of the public relations department who has seen sea duty, is surprised to meet a very well-educated and beautiful young Tuluran woman named Melora Alba. The next day, playboy Lt. Ross Pendelton wants to avoid competition when dating one of only a handful of American women on the island and asks Pvt. Adam Garrett for a favor. Knowing that enlisted men are forbidden to date above their rank, Pendelton suggests Adam act as the required escort during his date with Lt. Alice Tomlen. Meanwhile, Siegel finds Melora at a run-down village schoolhouse where she teaches without the benefit of reference books. After several visits to the school to provide research materials for the children, the love-struck Siegel asks to call Melora by her first name, having been relegated to calling her Miss Alba, but Melora refuses, reminding him that Tuluran custom differs from his own. Days later, Nash responds to criticism about the use of department funds to build a new officers' club by ordering his office workers to finish the job; however, the inexperienced men's slapdash attempts at construction only lead to the building's near collapse. When Nash is ordered to polish the Navy's public image, Siegel suggests that publicity profiling a "typical" enlisted sailor would ignite the public's enthusiasm for the Navy. Days later, Adam seeks Siegel's help in arranging a date with Alice. That night, as Adam is driving Pendelton and Alice on their date, Siegel and several other men blow out the jeep's tires with gunshot and then abduct Pendelton while Adam shields Alice from learning the identity of the culprits. Once alone, Adam professes his love and confesses that the abduction was a ruse to be close to her. Alice is so impressed with the lonely man's determination that she asks Adam to remove her bars and kiss her. The next day, Siegel takes Alice on a date, but lets Adam sit in back seat with Alice once they are out of sight of the base. Upon receiving a set of encyclopedias for the school from Siegel days later, Melora finally calls him by his first name and invites him to meet her father. Melora's wealthy family home and her father's worldly experience easily intimidate the nervous Siegel. When Melora's father to invites Siegel to a game of chess; however, the one-time college champ accepts the challenge, knowing he has finally found some common ground. Later, Siegel is at the officer's club bar when arrogant correspondent Gordon Ripwell shows the crowd a one thousand dollar bill signed by his esteemed publisher that he keeps in his wallet. A few days later, Siegel suggests to Melora that if she would set Ripwell up on a date with one of her girl friends, he could persuade him to donate money to rebuild the school. After tape recording Ripwell's attempts to seduce the young woman, Siegel blackmails the writer by threatening to tell his publisher about his romantic adventure with an under-aged Tuluran girl unless he turns over the $1,000. Meanwhile, Nash's "typical" enlisted man turns out to be Farragut Jones, a ribald seaman who spews profanity. Assigned to convert Farragut into a presentable character in three days, Siegel plies the love-starved man with booze and promises that women will swoon at his new fame. Three days later, Farragut's flawless recitation of Spiegel's speech glorifying Navy life surprises everyone, even Boatwright. Meanwhile, when Adam is caught dating Alice, Siegel suggests to the gullible Nash that sea duty is a suitable punishment, knowing the sentence is one Adam would gladly take. Months later at a ceremony for the rebuilt school, Ripwell congratulates Melora on her "diligence" in getting the money. Comprehending that it was Melora who was alone with Ripwell, Siegel is stricken with guilt and realizes that he wants Melora for his own. When he then proposes to her, they both recognize that marriage is impossible because of his responsibilities back in New York and her obligation to the Tuluran school children. Days later, Nash assigns Siegel to be the escort for correspondent Deborah "Debbie" Aldrich, who insists on covering combat operations. Siegel soon finds himself onboard a battle ship with Debbie and 1,700 sailors who have not seen a woman in 31 months. Despite the admiral posting a six-man, 24-hour patrol to guard on Debbie, her black lace panties are soon seen hanging from a ship's cable as a pennant. Months later, during the Allie's victory party at the officer's club, Siegel announces to the audience that Nash has a surprise plan, which as usual, is also a surprise to Nash. After dedicating the officer's club as a recreation facility for the Tuluran people, Siegel names himself as the facility's supervisor and eyes Melora in the crowd. With her father's consent, Melora joins Siegel on the dance floor, where Adam, who has just returned from combat, is happily dancing with Alice. When Ripwell proposes a toast to public relations department, all raise their glasses to Debbie's newly framed pair of black lace panties on the club wall.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 14 Nov 1957|
|Release Date:||1957||Production Date:||
A Avon Production
|Color/B&W:||Color (Metrocolor)||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)||Production Co:||Avon Productions, Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
|Duration(feet):||105 or 107|
Leonard Maltin Ratings & Review
LEONARD MALTIN MOVIE RATING
LEONARD MALTIN MOVIE REVIEW:
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Very good comedy
"Don't go near the water" takes aim at one of the most incompetent things in the world, i.e., the military. Ford is in the PR business as...
Don't Go Near The Water
I think Maltin is off a bit on this one. This movie is genuinely entertaining. It's funny, touching, and has all the components needed for a solid...
Probably the funniest military comedy
Col Harmon 2013-12-29
Leonard Maltin is completely out of touch with this film. EveryoneI knew who saw this film gave it raves. A very funny and intelligent comedy , something...