Don't Go Near the Water


1h 42m 1957
Don't Go Near the Water

Brief Synopsis

Navy office workers scheme to build a recreation hall on a remote Pacific island.

Photos & Videos

Don't Go Near the Water - Anne Francis Publicity Stills
Don't Go Near the Water - Advertising Art

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
War
Release Date
Nov 1957
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Nov 1957
Production Company
Avon Productions, Inc.; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Don't Go Near the Water by William Brinkley (New York, 1956).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
105 or 107ft

Synopsis

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.

Photo Collections

Don't Go Near the Water - Anne Francis Publicity Stills
Here are a few still of Anne Francis, taken to help publicize MGM's Don't Go Near the Water (1957).
Don't Go Near the Water - Advertising Art
Here are a few pieces of advertising art prepared by MGM to publicize Don't Go Near the Water (1957), starring Glenn Ford, Anne Francis, Eva Gabor, and Gia Scala.

Videos

Movie Clip

Don't Go Near The Water (1957) - It Is Not Customary Nearly 90 minutes in, P-R Lt. Siegel has drawn the short straw, required to escort a lady correspondent, presumed to be elderly or worse, when Eva Gabor appears as Miss Aldridge, disorienting all including Russ Tamblyn as Tyson, Jeff Richards as Lt. Pendleton, and Howard Smith as the admiral, in MGM’s Don’t Go Near The Water,1957.
Don't Go Near The Water (1957) - Never Second Class Having contrived a fake air raid to separate her from a higher-ranking suitor, yeoman sailor Garrett (Earl Holliman) confesses his admiration for Lt. Tomlen (Anne Francis, in her last feature before her long run as an in-demand TV guest star), on an MGM WWII South Pacific island, in Don’t Go Near The Water,1957, starring Glenn Ford.
Don't Go Near The Water (1957) - They're Completely Unpredictable Jaded Lt. Siegel (Glenn Ford) with swabbie yeoman Garrett (Earl Holliman) stuck with showing goofball congressmen (Jansen and Smithfield, Jack Albertson and Charles Watts) around their rear-sector Pacific island base, meets (23 year-old Sicilian-Irish) Gia Scala as native schoolteacher Melora (Alba), Chuck Walters directing for MGM, in Don’t Go Near The Water, 1957, from the novel by Life magazine editor William Brinkley.
Don't Go Near The Water (1957) - Playin' With His Sexton Opening the straightforward MGM/Glenn Ford service comedy (his first following the hit The Teahouse Of The August Moon, 1956), narration by Keenan Wynn (who appears later as a nutty newsman) introducing Fred Clark as the CO, with Ford, Russ Tamblyn and Ike Gibson as Pratt, in Don’t Go Near The Water,1957, featuring Gia Scala, Anne Francis and Eva Gabor.

Trailer

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
War
Release Date
Nov 1957
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Nov 1957
Production Company
Avon Productions, Inc.; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Don't Go Near the Water by William Brinkley (New York, 1956).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
105 or 107ft

Articles

Don't Go Near the Water


Though considered a "woman's director" in Hollywood, Charles Walters was put in charge of this testosterone-fueled MGM service comedy, set on a fictitious South Pacific island during the final months of World War II. Based on the 1956 novel by William Brinkley, Don't Go Near the Water (1957) stars Glenn Ford as a sardonic Navy lieutenant removed from the heat of battle to cool his heels in a rear echelon public relations unit led by former stockbroker Fred Clark. A loose-knit collection of comic gags leapfrogging the calendar on a course for VJ Day, the film jumps from one vignette to the next as Ford romances islander Gia Scala, enlisted man Earl Holliman courts officer Anne Francis, and Clark orchestrates the disastrous construction/destruction of an officer's club. Comic cameos are provided by Keenan Wynn as a vainglorious war correspondent, Mary Wickes as a wry Navy nurse making the most of the shortage of women, Russ Tamblyn as an ensign eager to see action, Eva Gabor as a sexy journalist who wears black lingerie into combat, and Mickey Shaughnessy as a profanity-prone swabbie whom Ford must groom as poster boy for Navy recruitment. Strictly a backlot, rear projection, and stock footage affair, Don't Go Near the Water remains a winning wartime farce in the grand tradition of Mr. Roberts (1955), Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), and Stripes (1981). By Richard Harland Smith
Don't Go Near The Water

Don't Go Near the Water

Though considered a "woman's director" in Hollywood, Charles Walters was put in charge of this testosterone-fueled MGM service comedy, set on a fictitious South Pacific island during the final months of World War II. Based on the 1956 novel by William Brinkley, Don't Go Near the Water (1957) stars Glenn Ford as a sardonic Navy lieutenant removed from the heat of battle to cool his heels in a rear echelon public relations unit led by former stockbroker Fred Clark. A loose-knit collection of comic gags leapfrogging the calendar on a course for VJ Day, the film jumps from one vignette to the next as Ford romances islander Gia Scala, enlisted man Earl Holliman courts officer Anne Francis, and Clark orchestrates the disastrous construction/destruction of an officer's club. Comic cameos are provided by Keenan Wynn as a vainglorious war correspondent, Mary Wickes as a wry Navy nurse making the most of the shortage of women, Russ Tamblyn as an ensign eager to see action, Eva Gabor as a sexy journalist who wears black lingerie into combat, and Mickey Shaughnessy as a profanity-prone swabbie whom Ford must groom as poster boy for Navy recruitment. Strictly a backlot, rear projection, and stock footage affair, Don't Go Near the Water remains a winning wartime farce in the grand tradition of Mr. Roberts (1955), Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), and Stripes (1981). By Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The following written prologue precedes the onscreen credits: "A Great Naval Commander once said, `Don't Give Up the Ship!' The Sailors in our story aren't worried about this. They have no ships to give up. In fact they Don't Go Near the Water.." This is followed by voice-over narration provided by Keenan Wynn as correspondent "Gordon Ripwell," who introduces the story of the "dry land sailors."
       According to a January 30, 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item and a March 1, 1957 Hollywood Reporter production chart, Anna Kashfi was to star in the film; however, she was replaced by Gia Scala. A June 25, 1956 Hollywood Reporter "Rambling Reporter" news item states that Ernest Borgnine was considered for the lead role. As noted in reviews, the character "Farragut Jones" is scripted to use profanity throughout his scenes, but a loud "bleep" used for comic effect drowns out his voice each time he utters profanity. Don't Go Near the Water includes actual World War II combat footage in the film's battleship scenes.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter December 1957

CinemaScope

Released in United States Winter December 1957