Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Bardot and Bogarde
DOCTOR AT SEA (1955). Director: Ralph Thomas.

Dr. Simon Sparrow (Dirk Bogarde) becomes a ship's doctor chiefly to get away from an encumbrance with the plain daughter of his medical partner. Instead of a grumpy chief surgeon played by James Robertson Justice, he gets a grumpy Captain Hogg, also played by James Robertson Justice, and who's not much different from the surgeon. Hogg hates the idea of women on board ship, but he gets two female passengers, French chanteuse Helene Colbert (Brigitte Bardot), and Muriel Mallet (Brenda de Banzie), who is fascinated by the captain's beard and happens to be the daughter of the head of the line. There's some funny stuff in here, but more often the picture strains for hardy laughs. The cast is quite good, however, with an always-solid Bogarde, although a more demure, brunette Bardot, while attractive and capable, doesn't resemble the blonde sex bomb she was most frequently seen as. Justice played Sir Lancelot Spratt in one previous Doctor film, and in three later ones, including Doctor in Love, in which Michael Craig briefly took over from Dirk Bogarde in the lead, although not in the same role. Brenda de Banzie also had an important role in Hitchcock's 1956 The Man Who Knew Too Much, and is somewhat wasted in this piffle. George Coulouris plays a drunken sailor and plays it well.

Verdict: Fans of Bardot and/or Bogarde will enjoy this more than others. **.

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