Ensign Pulver


1h 44m 1964
Ensign Pulver

Brief Synopsis

A young officer on a World War II supply ship battles his captain to keep the men happy.

Film Details

Also Known As
Mr. Pulver and the Captain
Genre
Comedy
Drama
War
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
Cincinnati, Ohio, opening: 29 Jun 1964
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Mister Roberts by Thomas Heggen and Joshua Logan (New York, 18 Feb 1948), which was based on the novel Mister Roberts by Heggen (Boston, 1946).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 44m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Morale aboard a U. S. Navy cargo ship worsens when the hated Captain Morton refuses Bruno, a radio operator, permission to attend the funeral of his infant daughter. Later, Bruno tries to kill the captain, but Ensign Pulver wrests the gun from him, and the captain falls overboard during the fight. Pulver grudgingly dives in after him and maneuvers him into a life raft, but they are separated from the ship when a storm arises and presumed lost. Meanwhile, the ship's doctor institutes a new regime; he grants Bruno a shore leave, and morale picks up. On the life raft, the captain becomes ill, and as his condition worsens he becomes delerious. He reveals his past, which he believes causes his antisocial, brutish behavior, while Pulver takes notes. They land on a small island, and there Pulver, working under radioed instructions from the ship's doctor, performs an appendectomy on the captain. When they are returned to the ship, the captain becomes tyrannical again, but Pulver reveals that he knows enough about the captain's past to institute serious action against him, and he threatens to do so unless the captain has himself transferred to another ship. The captain agrees, and Pulver becomes a hero to the crew.

Film Details

Also Known As
Mr. Pulver and the Captain
Genre
Comedy
Drama
War
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
Cincinnati, Ohio, opening: 29 Jun 1964
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Mister Roberts by Thomas Heggen and Joshua Logan (New York, 18 Feb 1948), which was based on the novel Mister Roberts by Heggen (Boston, 1946).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 44m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Ensign Pulver


One of stage and film director Joshua Logan's signature efforts was the Broadway adaptation of Thomas Heggen's cynical WII maritime opus Mister Roberts. Besides directing the show, he also co-authored the dramatization of the story with Heggen. With Henry Fonda in the title role, the production enjoyed a heralded and lengthy run. Logan was also on hand to co-author the screenplay for the 1955 Hollywood version, which John Ford helmed for a once-in-a-lifetime ensemble of Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell and Jack Lemmon. Logan patently believed that lightning would strike twice when he first contemplated making a well-after-the-fact sequel as director, producer and co-scripter. The end result, Ensign Pulver (1964), suffered in comparison to its predecessor at the time of its release, but it's amusing enough on its own merits, and provides an entertaining opportunity to pick out the future familiar faces among the cast.

The action resumes back in the Pacific as WWII winds down, and the dispirited crew of the cargo ship USS Reluctant is still chafing under the dictatorial rule of the martinet Capt. Morton (Burl Ives). The ship's surgeon Doc (Walter Matthau) is still trying to pry some compassion from the skipper for the stressed sailors; and Ensign Frank Pulver (Robert Walker, Jr.) is still forever in pursuit of a fast buck. Tensions escalate even further when the captain callously refuses sympathy leave to crewman Bruno (Tommy Sands), who has lost his toddler daughter. The disgusted Pulver responds by escalating his campaign of pranks to undermine Morton's dignity.

Circumstances contrive to the point where the skipper is washed overboard during a storm, and Pulver is the only one in a position to rescue him. The enterprising ensign finds himself stuck adrift in a life raft having to ensure the survival of the despised captain, and possibly learn the reasons for his miserable demeanor.

In his 1978 autobiography Movie Stars, Real People, and Me, Logan made no bones about the indifferent public response to Ensign Pulver. "We though we had everyone in the picture that anyone could ask for," he reminisced. "But we had left out the most important thing: the catalytic agent, Mister Roberts. And without him, the story falls into shreds. No one really cares about the others enough to create suspense as to the outcome."

Besides Jack Nicholson (who, recalled Logan, "appointed himself my 'assistant producer': he helped me cast some of the other actors as well as Millie Perkins"), the sharp-eyed viewer will be able to pick out Larry Hagman, Peter Marshall, James Coco, James Farentino, Dick Gautier, George Lindsey and Gerald S. O'Loughlin from the officers and seamen.

Producer: Joshua Logan
Director: Joshua Logan
Screenplay: Peter S. Feibleman; Joshua Logan (screenplay and play "Mister Roberts"); Thomas Heggen (novel "Mister Roberts", play "Mister Roberts")
Cinematography: Charles Lawton, Jr.
Art Direction: Leo K. Kuter
Music: George Duning
Film Editing: William Reynolds
Cast: Robert Walker (Ensign Frank Pulver), Burl Ives (Captain Morton), Walter Matthau (Doc), Tommy Sands (John X. Bruno), Millie Perkins (Nurse Scotty), Kay Medford (Head Nurse), Larry Hagman (Lt. J.G. Billings), Peter L. Marshall (Lt. J.G. Carney), Joseph Marr (C.P.O. Dowdy), Gerald O'Loughlin (Lt. S.G. LaSueur), Diana Sands (Mila), Robert Matek (Captain Donald 'Stretch' Zimmer), Jack Nicholson (Dolan), Al Freeman, Jr. (Taru).
C-105m. Letterboxed.

by Jay S. Steinberg
Ensign Pulver

Ensign Pulver

One of stage and film director Joshua Logan's signature efforts was the Broadway adaptation of Thomas Heggen's cynical WII maritime opus Mister Roberts. Besides directing the show, he also co-authored the dramatization of the story with Heggen. With Henry Fonda in the title role, the production enjoyed a heralded and lengthy run. Logan was also on hand to co-author the screenplay for the 1955 Hollywood version, which John Ford helmed for a once-in-a-lifetime ensemble of Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell and Jack Lemmon. Logan patently believed that lightning would strike twice when he first contemplated making a well-after-the-fact sequel as director, producer and co-scripter. The end result, Ensign Pulver (1964), suffered in comparison to its predecessor at the time of its release, but it's amusing enough on its own merits, and provides an entertaining opportunity to pick out the future familiar faces among the cast. The action resumes back in the Pacific as WWII winds down, and the dispirited crew of the cargo ship USS Reluctant is still chafing under the dictatorial rule of the martinet Capt. Morton (Burl Ives). The ship's surgeon Doc (Walter Matthau) is still trying to pry some compassion from the skipper for the stressed sailors; and Ensign Frank Pulver (Robert Walker, Jr.) is still forever in pursuit of a fast buck. Tensions escalate even further when the captain callously refuses sympathy leave to crewman Bruno (Tommy Sands), who has lost his toddler daughter. The disgusted Pulver responds by escalating his campaign of pranks to undermine Morton's dignity. Circumstances contrive to the point where the skipper is washed overboard during a storm, and Pulver is the only one in a position to rescue him. The enterprising ensign finds himself stuck adrift in a life raft having to ensure the survival of the despised captain, and possibly learn the reasons for his miserable demeanor. In his 1978 autobiography Movie Stars, Real People, and Me, Logan made no bones about the indifferent public response to Ensign Pulver. "We though we had everyone in the picture that anyone could ask for," he reminisced. "But we had left out the most important thing: the catalytic agent, Mister Roberts. And without him, the story falls into shreds. No one really cares about the others enough to create suspense as to the outcome." Besides Jack Nicholson (who, recalled Logan, "appointed himself my 'assistant producer': he helped me cast some of the other actors as well as Millie Perkins"), the sharp-eyed viewer will be able to pick out Larry Hagman, Peter Marshall, James Coco, James Farentino, Dick Gautier, George Lindsey and Gerald S. O'Loughlin from the officers and seamen. Producer: Joshua Logan Director: Joshua Logan Screenplay: Peter S. Feibleman; Joshua Logan (screenplay and play "Mister Roberts"); Thomas Heggen (novel "Mister Roberts", play "Mister Roberts") Cinematography: Charles Lawton, Jr. Art Direction: Leo K. Kuter Music: George Duning Film Editing: William Reynolds Cast: Robert Walker (Ensign Frank Pulver), Burl Ives (Captain Morton), Walter Matthau (Doc), Tommy Sands (John X. Bruno), Millie Perkins (Nurse Scotty), Kay Medford (Head Nurse), Larry Hagman (Lt. J.G. Billings), Peter L. Marshall (Lt. J.G. Carney), Joseph Marr (C.P.O. Dowdy), Gerald O'Loughlin (Lt. S.G. LaSueur), Diana Sands (Mila), Robert Matek (Captain Donald 'Stretch' Zimmer), Jack Nicholson (Dolan), Al Freeman, Jr. (Taru). C-105m. Letterboxed. by Jay S. Steinberg

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Mexico City and Acapulco. Working title: Mr. Pulver and the Captain. Sequel to Mister Roberts (Warner Bros., 1955).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer July 1964

Sequel to "Mister Roberts".

Released in United States Summer July 1964