YOU’RE IN THE NAVY NOW was first released as USS Teakettle, which didn’t steam, hence the title change, but despite starring Gary Cooper, it sank to 70th place among moneymakers of 1951 (grossing $4,600,000) when word got out that it was a comedy that wasn’t very funny. Set at Norfolk Naval Base early in WW2, the slight 92-minute affair is supposed to be a wry tribute to the kind of service inefficiency that millions of Americans could relate to, but director Henry Hathaway, a good hand with action, displays a weaker grip with jokes, though the material isn’t much to start with.
PC-1168, a sub chaser, crewed by green officers and undisciplined men, is tasked with testing a top secret variety of steam engine. That should bring in the crowds!
Assisting the unexcited Cooper are Eddie Albert (trying to add some energy), Millard Mitchell, Jack Webb, John McIntire, Ed Begley, Ray Collins, Richard Erdman and Harry Von Zell. Jane Greer has thankless scenes as Cooper’s wife. The Navy’s co-operation ensured that nine of their various vessels were displayed along with the ‘Teakettle’.
Inoffensive but empty, of note mainly for the screen debuts of Charles Bronson (29), Jack Warden (30), Harvey Lembeck (27) and Lee Marvin (26). Cooper fared better that year with the actioner Distant Drums, which drummed up to spot #13.