Cast & Crew
Since boyhood, Naval Lt. Walter Brewster and his brother, Ensign Jim Brewster, have vied for the love of Nancy Larkin, a flirtatious beauty, but an incompetent homemaker. Nancy's less attractive sister Letty is an outstanding cook and is in love with Walter. She and Jim use a secret code and various plots to disrupt Walter and Nancy's courtship. Letty makes a special cake for Walter's shore leave and plans on entering a photograph of the cake in a contest, but her cousin Meryl accidentally takes a picture of her legs instead and sends that photo to a different contest. Jim is determined to prevent Nancy from accepting Walter's marriage proposal. Because Nancy has already made another date to a town picnic, she advises Walter to invite Letty, and they agree to ditch their dates. Letty finds out that Walter plans to ditch her and refuses to attend the picnic. To console her, Jim steals from the picknickers all the picnic food she prepared and stays with her. When she overhears Walter's plans to take his captain fishing at Paradise Lake, Letty packs pots and pans and hides in the trunk of his car. Unknown to Letty, Walter sends Jim in his place to check out the cabin. On arrival, Jim checks out the rotting cabin while Letty cooks flapjacks over a campfire, hoping to win Walter's heart through his stomach. Jim and Letty are shocked to see one another, and their spirits further dampen when Letty accidentally parks the car over the fire and it explodes, forcing them to walk in a drenching storm to find an inn. When Letty's aunt Minnie, Walter and Nancy find Letty and Jim in a hotel room together, they assume the worst and arrange a marriage. Letty wins a contest for her great legs through the photo Meryl sent in and instantly becomes wealthy. At home, Nancy displays her ineptitude in the kitchen and ruins the captain's dinner, embarrassing Walter. Letty arrives wearing furs and jewels, and whips up a fabulous meal for the captain, who is completely charmed by her. Disappointed in Nancy, Walter proposes to Letty, who has suddenly blossomed and acquired national fame. Jim and Nancy plan to elope on the wedding day, which also happens to be Navy Day. Before the wedding, Walter kisses Letty for the first time, and to her astonishment, she feels nothing special. She rushes to find Jim and insists he kiss her, and they discover that they are in love.
J. C. Nugent
Bonnie Jean Churchill
John H. Allen
A. E. Freudeman
Lieutenant H. E. Walter U.s.n.
Give Me A Sailor
Bob Hope was becoming frustrated with the state of his career while making Give Me a Sailor. He felt that he had hit a wall and was pressuring his agent to get him starring roles in "A" pictures. He wasn't enthusiastic about Give Me a Sailor, but was unable to refuse the film because he had not yet achieved true star status and didn't have the power necessary to go up against Paramount. To refuse a role in the Golden Age of Hollywood could mean suspension, in which Hope would not be paid for the time it took for the film to be made, plus that time was tacked on to the duration of his contract. Hope may have felt trapped, but he was smart enough to know that being openly hostile or complaining wouldn't help the situation, and so he kept quiet.
Give Me a Sailor was a romantic comedy about childhood friends Letty Larkin (Raye) and Jim Brewster (Hope). Letty has always been in love with Jim's brother, Walter (Whiting), now a naval lieutenant, and Jim, an ensign, has been in love with Letty's beautiful sister, Nancy (Grable). The problem is, Walter and Nancy have fallen in love. It may have been a fluffy little "B" film, but it made a favorable impression on critics when it was released on August 19, 1938. The Prescott Evening Courier called Give Me a Sailor "a light-hearted plot based upon the high jinx of seamen on shore leave, a number of lilting new songs and a cast headed by such top-notchers as Martha Raye, Bob Hope and Betty Grable." The plot may not have been new, but as Maurice Moran wrote for The Pittsburgh Press, "the fun served before the climax is a sure-fire cure for the blues."
Butler, Jeremy G. Star Texts: Image and Performance in Film and Television
Faith, William Robert Bob Hope: A Life in Comedy
The Internet Movie Database
Moran, Maurice E. "Martha Raye Emerges as Glamour Girl with Uncle Sam's Navy as Background" The Pittsburgh Press 24 Oct 38
Neibaur, James L. The Bob Hope Films
"Give Me a Sailor is a Hilarious Film" Prescott-Evening Courier 5 Sep 38
Quirk, Lawrence J. Bob Hope: The Road Well Traveled
By Lorraine LoBianco
Give Me A Sailor
According to information in the Paramount Script Collection at the AMPAS Library, Frederick Jackson worked on a separate screenplay. It is not known if any of his material was included in the final film. Actor J. C. Nugent was director Elliott Nugent's father.
Released in United States 1938
Released in United States 1938