Tobruk – Starring Rock Hudson & George Peppard

Please Note: Contains Plot Lines & Spoilers.

Stars Legendary Rock Hudson (Major Craig); with general cast including George Peppard (Captain Bergman), Nigel Green (Colonel Harker), Jack Watson (Major Tyne), Guy Stockwell (Lieutenant Mohnfeld), Percy Herbert (Dolan).

Released in 1967 by Universal and in Colour.

I really enjoy this movie each and every-time I see it; definitely one of my favourite post 1950’s war movies. Although Rock Hudson’s earlier well-known classics like Pillow Talk, Man’s Favourite Sport, Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers are under the romantic comedy genre; his appearance and performance in Tobruk is sure to be enjoyed by fans of those movies also.

Tobruk is about a group of elite British soldiers including the Special Identification Group – SIG (who are German speaking Jewish volunteers under British Command), who are sent to Tobruk to blow up and destroy Rommel’s fuel supplies. But before attacking Rommel’s fuel dumps, they must first destroy the huge beach cannons which will wipe out the allied ships due to deploy a beach landing planned in several days’ time. Once accomplished they make their way back home via ship; this must be accomplished all within 8 days!

Major Craig (played by Rock Hudson) had earlier submitted a plan to staff headquarters detailing a proposed raid on the fuel bunkers in Tobruk. With his knowledge of the Sahara desert and detailed plans for this mission, he is selected by Staff to be a part. But there is one problem; Major Craig has been recently captured and interned by the Vichy French.

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Tobruk begins with the rescue of Major Craig by Captain Bergman (played by George Peppard) and some of his men. What Craig doesn’t realize in these tense few moments, is that Bergman is on his side. But for the raid to be done under secrecy, Craig and his captures are made to believe that they are German soldiers pulling off this rescue. This misunderstanding is soon cleared up once in the air and on the way to safety. Craig is taken to Kufra to meet Colonel Harker (played by Nigel Green). Major Craig and Colonel Harker are not real close for most of this movie and have different views on the war. Major Craig is in the war because he has to be, for no other reason. Colonel Harker is a professional ‘old school’ soldier.

George Peppard starred in the 1961 well known movie ‘A Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ with Audrey Hepburn. Although appearing in numerous movies from that point on; he is best known as Hannibal Smith from the hit 1980’s TV series ‘The A-Team’. To a lesser extent his pre-A-Team TV series was called ‘Banacek’. This series is not well known to George Peppard fans; and wasn’t nearly as popular as ‘The A-Team’ – nor unfortunately has been shown too often (or at all in some cases) on TV. It is now on DVD though!  I have always enjoyed movies with George Peppard and believe he didn’t get the recognition as a Hollywood leading man as he deserved. In part I think this was due to his late entry at the early 1960’s movie making, when the ‘old Hollywood’ star days had passed. Never the less, a great actor in both movie and TV shows.

Major Craig and Colonel Harker are introduced. Harker explains to Craig the mission details and the strict time frame that must be adhered to for the mission to succeed. Due to the territory they need to cross (800 miles of the Sahara desert), which is also under German occupation; they need a plan that will allow them to cross unseen and not captured by either the Italian or German forces. So, just in case they do run into either, the plan is set for the British to be disguised as captured POWs. This is accomplished with the help of the SIG (under control of Captain Bergman) who all speak fluent German and will act as their German captures (dressed in Afrika Korps uniforms). Although the SIG are volunteers and proven Allies, they are not trusted by Colonel Harker or the other British members who believe otherwise. Along with the help of some props (German uniforms, and Afrika Corps vehicle’s etc.), they are now the perfect combination to get past any German road blocks and scrutiny along the way. Major Craig’s main role in this mission is to map out the safest and most reliable route to Tobruk based on his extensive knowledge. Once the desert is conquered and safe passage is made to the destination, the real mission begins.

Two familiar faces that appear Tobruk are Jack Watson (plays Sgt-Major Tyne) & Percy Herbert (plays Dolan).  Jack Watson was a regular face in many war films. One well known movie was ‘The Hill’ with Sean Connery; where he was a fellow inmate at a military Prison. The other was ‘The Devils Brigade’ with William Holden.

Percy Herbert was another very familiar faced British War film actor. Some of his better known roles were ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ with William Holden, and ‘The Guns of Navarone’ with Gregory Peck.

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We next meet Lieutenant Mohnfeld (played Guy Stockwell), a member of the SIG. Along with Bergman and the other SIG, he doubles as German Soldiers in control of their of the British POWs throughout their journey to Tobruk.

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Guy Stockwell (his younger brother Dean Stockwell also an actor) later appeared in guest roles in many well-known TV shows like Magnum PI, Combat! & Bonanza.

Their journey begins and along the along we see the British have set up camp for the night when they see an Italian armoured patrol in the distance heading close to their position. With the size of the Sahara desert, any patrol passing so close to their position is very unlucky indeed. They have one advantage in that they have stopped and taken refuge in an incline in the desert (ditch). So they are below the eye level of the tanks/patrol above. Normally this would just be enough to stay unseen from any passing patrols at night; however their luck worsens and a German armoured patrol appears from the opposite direction and threatens their position.

With very quick thinking by Harker; mortars are set up and aimed at the Italian armoured convoy; which will make it appear as if the fire is coming from the Germans off in the distance. This must be done before both the German and Italians see each other. (Remember, the British are in an incline, so can’t be seen across the desert). So once this mortar fire commences, the Italians believe this artillery fire is from the enemy (the Germans are too far away to be identified). The Italians think the Germans are the enemy, and the Germans think the Italians are the enemy and this ‘created’’ battle continues while the British sneak away along the ditch in the desert.

Major Craig (who is heading the first part of this mission) decides to lead the convoy off the pre-planned route. He realizes once the Italians and Germans finish their fire fight and realize what has happened, they will begin sending out patrols to hunt them down. He explains to an unconvinced Colonel Harker that without this deviation is the pre-planned journey, it is very likely that they may wind up as POWs or dead; regardless of the SIG. The problem with using this new route to Tobruk, is that it is also full of minefields. Luckily Major Craig has an ingenious plan to detonate all the mines at once, leaving a clear path for the mission to continue.

The journey continues and their next obstacle comes in the form of a RAF spitfire who mistakes them for Germans (due to their vehicles etc.). After some major damage is done including several wounded and dead, the plane is shot down by the British. This was not something they wanted to do; he was on their side, but the pilot saw them as German soldiers and would continue to fire so they had no other option. During this fight they also lost their radio for communication. Although Bergman stresses the need to move on immediately (now they have several vehicles and a spitfire on fire billowing smoke for every enemy spotter to see for miles), Craig insists they stay and bury the dead. Its the right thing to do.

Further along the journey they are met with some desert tribesmen who have captured prisoners they want to swap for weapons. The deal is done, but the two prisoners are German Nazis. This makes it difficult.

They must now keep up the fake front at all times.

What makes matter worse in this instance; is one of the SIG isn’t who he seems. So which one is it? Unfortunately for the group, this isn’t known until more men die and the mission is at its peak. Like all movies when we the audience know the ‘killer’ but the movie cast do not, it does add to the suspense. To make matters worse you have to endure watching the wrong people being accused while the real traitor continues on! if only we could talk to the TV!

Finally the group reach their destination, and with more than one mission the group is split. In these final battle scenes you see SIG members and the British soldiers get closer, realizing they are all fighting for the same cause, maybe the SIG more so. All the earlier dis-trust between the men is now gone. During these final scenes of battle we see an incredible scene with a flame thrower. One of the most dreaded weapons of any war. Flame Throwers and their users were the first person the enemy would pick off. No-one wants to go that way.

We see Major Craig (Rock Hudson) in a captured tank destroying German fuel bunkers and a final showdown between Harker and the traitor?

Every time I watch a Rock Hudson movie, I enjoy it. It doesn’t get simpler than that. Of course there are more or less enjoyable movies from his career depending on your preference; but he was a great actor, who wasn’t/isn’t given full credit for his achievements.

Who Else Do I Think Could Have Played That Part?

I could see Australian Actor Rod Taylor in that part! But Rock was excellent!

All posts are done by me, and are copyright to — www.classicoldmoviesofyesterday.com.

Send Me No Flowers – Starring Rock Hudson, Doris Day & Tony Randall

Please Note: Review Contains Plot Lines and Spoilers.

Send Me No Flowers; Stars Rock Hudson (George Kimble), Doris Day (Judy Kimble), Tony Randall (Arnold), Edward Andres (Dr Ralph Morrissey), Clint Walker (Bert Power), Paul Lynde (Mr Akins), Hal March (Winston ‘Winnie’ Burr).

Released in 1964 by Universal and is in colour.

This movie was the last of the three movies in which Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall all stared together. The previous two being ‘Lover Come Back’ in 1961 and ‘Pillow Talk in 1959’. All three movies are classics and I enjoyed each very much.

Send Me No Flowers starts with an opening song sung by Doris Day called ‘Send Me No Flowers’. This is another one of those songs from movies that can stay in your mind for some time. Even while writing this blog post, I can hear it in my head! It is a nice tune and is played in the background several times throughout this classic film.

We see George Kimble (played by Rock Hudson) lying in bed asleep dreaming about different types of commercials, each selling different medical cures. Everything from headache pills to stomach ache cures. Tossing and turning he finally awakes; and like every other morning he heads to the bathroom for his daily dose of pills and throat sprays from his large and well stocked bathroom medicine cabinet. You see, George is a hypochondriac and spends his entire day (and dreams) preoccupied about what disease or injury is going to kill him; although he doesn’t believe he is a Hypochondriac. After jumping into a hot steaming shower and testing his temperature with a thermometer; you see by the reaction on his face the temperature reading is high. But he overlooks the fact he is in a hot shower.  

While he is upstairs showering and going through his morning medical routine, Judy (played by Doris Day – his wife), is downstairs doing her morning routine of collecting the newspaper, eggs and milk delivery off the front porch. The problem is her hands are so full she accidentally shuts the door on herself while trying to remove the morning paper from the mail slot in the door. Locked outside she now yells for George to help. He of course is too busy in the shower and medicine cabinet. Upset, she trips and drops all her groceries, smashing the milk bottle and breaking all the eggs. With broken eggs now all over her slippers, she climbs back inside the house through an open window. But not without a wolf whistle from the neighbourhood delivery boy happily looking on.

Finally at breakfast, George tops up on some more vitamin pills; he is also very concerned about the pain he has in his chest. Worried, he made an appointment with Dr Morrissey (played by Edward Andres) later that day. We also hear that their neighbours ‘The Bullard’s are getting a divorce.

Later that morning at a meeting with Winston ‘Winnie’ Burr (played by Hal March); we see Winston (who plays a sleazy, womanizing character), call Mrs Bullard for a get together that night. This is his way of getting closer to her, at a time when her marriage is falling apart and she is vulnerable. Although of no consequence to George at the time, he later remembers Winston’s way of picking up woman when in a similar position.

Off to the Doctor’s appointment later that day, he meets up with Dr Morrissey. He explains to the doctor about the pain in his chest; and especially how painful it is when he pokes it. So, the doctor tells him not to poke it! After an examination, he is told it is just simple indigestion and not to worry; but the Dr gives George some pills to take home with him. While there, George is also curious as to how his test results went for his previous cardiogram. The Dr tells him it hasn’t arrived back yet, so George heads to the bathroom for some water to take his first pill. While doing so, he overhears Dr Morrissey talking to a heart specialist (Dr Peterson) on the phone. Without hearing the whole conversation, he wrongly assumes the diagnosis that he hears, is actually his own. So now leaving the Dr office, he assumes he is dying of a heart problem and only has weeks to live. He believes the ‘indigestion’ diagnosis was just told to him by Dr Morrissey, as a gesture of kindness so he wouldn’t worry.

On the ride home on the train with Arnold (played by Tony Randall & next door neighbour), he tells him the diagnosis he just “received”. Upon hearing the news Arnold gets drunk, and also volunteers to write the eulogy and take care of the funeral plans. They decide not to tell Judy, but plan to ensure she is looked after when George passes on. So now both Arnold and George begin the quest to find Judy a new husband. 

First stop for George is to pay for his burial plot. So he meets up with Mr Akins (played by Paul Lynde) of the Green Hills Funeral Home. Together they set him a plot space, and while there he decides to go all out and buy one for Judy and her future husband also. Paul Lynde plays a great part in the movie; a quirky odd character, and a perfect fit.

Paul Lynde was best known for his role as Uncle Arthur in Bewitched.

George, Judy and Arnold head to the golf club for a day out. At this stage Judy still doesn’t know of George’s illness. While Judy is playing Golf elsewhere on the course, George and Arnold head out to look over potential prospects for Judy to re-marry. One by one they all get crossed off the list for one reason or another. But one man who finds Judy is Bert (played by Clint Walker). Her golf cart goes out of control on the course and Bert saves her on his horse. Bert is a large and powerful man; who is also a rich oil magnate. It also turns out that he and Judy went to the same college together. Although George is not happy with Bert and his obvious affection for Judy; Arnold suggests that Bert could be Judy’s future husband, the man they have been looking for. George decides to go along with it for Judy’s happiness.

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Clint Walker played in the TV series Cheyenne. But he is also recognized from the 1967 movie ‘The Dirty Dozen’ alongside Lee Marvin.

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George decides to leave a recorded message for Judy to let her know she shouldn’t feel guilty about marrying Bert when he is gone. He lets Arnold (who is now constantly drunk since hearing the diagnosis on the train), hear the message, who then hits the bottle harder, now more upset.

George, Judy and Bert are all out together at a dinner dance. It is here George tries to push Judy into dancing and spending more time with Bert. While standing back and watching everyone dance he meets up with Winston and Linda Bullard (the woman Winston called on the phone at the beginning of the movie). Winston brags at his new conquest. George is unhappy with this, so tells Linda what Winston is up to. She is very glad and hugs and kisses him with thanks. This is where Judy walks in and catches them both in the act. Upset, she now thinks that George’s distant and cold behaviour is now due to him having an affair with Linda.

With no option, George tells her about his upcoming death, his diagnosis. Now treating George like a terminal patient, Arnold and Judy care for his every need, including wheeling him around in a wheelchair. Arnold still gets around drunk.

Arnold and Judy try to reach Dr Morrissey but he is out fishing; so they continue George’s home care alone. Later while Judy and George are in bed talking about old times, the doorbell rings. It is Dr Morrissey now back, and delivering fish he caught on his fishing trip. It is here Judy learns that George is not sick at all. She is furious. She once again thinks this was a cover-up by George to hide an affair with Linda. George still thinks he is really dying. Just for a little while, Judy doesn’t let on to George she knows. But soon does! Along with George outside, she throws his medicine products all over him and out the window. Kicked out, he is now Arnold’s roommate.

Sharing a room and a bed together, makes for good comedy between George and Arnold.

Upon hearing of their marital problems, Winston Burr tries his sleazy tricks on Judy and invites her out for a drink. George overhears Winston talking to Judy on the phone, and knows what that means.

George calls Dr Morrissey and finally gets the true diagnosis; he isn’t going to die. He tells Arnold, who feels put out after all the work and heavy drinking he has done, on the assumption George would die soon.

George tries to explain the whole story to Judy, but she wants nothing to do with him and turns to Bert for advice.

Now with Judy hating him, George is unsure what to do. So he goes next door to ask Arnold (a lawyer) for some advice on getting Judy back and to love him again. Arnold tells him to confess to an affair with a woman (even though it isn’t true). It would be the quickest way to get her to forgive him. Just tell her what she wants to hear and she will forgive and forget.

But before he gets the chance, Judy heads for the airport. Finally catching her and using Arnold’s advice, George admits to an affair with a woman named Dolores Yellowstone. The Yellowstone part was quickly thought up on the spot by looking at a national park poster on the wall. He even uses the cheque book receipt of $1000 (he actually used to pay for the burial plots) as proof that he tried to pay off the woman to leave him alone. The problem is, it backfires on him. Judy hates even more now. George isn’t happy with Arnold.

The saving grace is Mr Akins turns up at the house with the receipt for the burial plot, which matches the cheque stub for $1000. Judy now realizes there was no affair after all and George was telling the truth all along. George comes home for one last try to explain. She forgives him. Then the doorbell rings, it is Winston Burr with flowers to meet Judy. He meets George’s fist instead.

Send Me No Flowers is a really fun and good feeling comedy. You can clearly see the friendship between the three actors and especially between Doris Day and Rock Hudson. It is in the top of my favourite’s movies and probably my favourite Rock Hudson movie. I can’t think of any other movie like it, and to me that is what makes it so special. A classic old movie from a time in film history we will not see again, unfortunately.

Who Else Could Have Played The Part?

This is so hard to decide. I think Rock Hudson is the best actor for the part. But I think Cary Grant had the same comedic talent as Rock Hudson and would have suited this part also.

All posts are done by me, and are copyright to — www.classicoldmoviesofyesterday.com.

A Lawless Street Starring Randolph Scott & Angela Lansbury

Please Note: Review Contains Plot Lines and Spoilers.

Released in 1955 by Columbia Pictures; in Technicolour.

A Lawless Street: Stars Legendary Randolph Scott (Marshal Calem Ware) with general cast including: Angela Lansbury (Taleen (Tally) Dickenson), Jean Parker (Cora Dean), Warner Anderson, (Hamer Thorne – The Mayer), Wallace Ford (Dr Amos Wynn), John Emery (Cody Clark), Ruth Donnelly (Molly), Don Megawan (Dooley Brion).

This is a classic 1950’s western all the way. A tough lawman is hired to keep a town clean and free from the type of men that would bring it trouble. But keeping a town clean always brings opposition from those few crooked men who want it run their way. The Marshal is the only real man in the way of their plans, so they decide to relieve him of his duty. Yet without the courage to do their own dirty work, they must hire lowdown gunman to do it for them. The Marshall must take on these hired killers one by one, and more importantly find the men who hired them to do it. To make matters worse, a lost love from his past appears in town, a woman with no backbone. They were married many years ago in Apache Wells…his heart knows the pain of seeing her leave when it got too tough; he has carried that pain ever since. Now years later they meet again in Medicine Bend; but has she changed or will she run again at the slightest hint of trouble?

Set in the town of Medicine Bend, Marshal Ware (played by Randolph Scott) is a tough lawman; he has served as a Peace Officer in towns like Abilene, Dodge City and Apache Wells; rough and tough wild west towns that needed taming. He was the man for the job because he is the best. Asaph Dean (played by James Bell) is a cattleman; he founded Medicine Bend and set up the rules and way of life for the town’s people. He hired Calem to keep law and order. But with opposition from Hamer Thorne (played by Warner Anderson) and Cody Clark (played by John Emery), trouble is not far away. They want the mine to be reopened to bring more people and money into ‘their town’; even if that means bringing trouble with it.

Warner Anderson is a well-known character actor. In ‘A Lawless Street’ he portrays the corrupt and money hungry Hamer Thorne well. I last mentioned Warner Anderson in my blog on ‘Objective Burma’ where he played the good guy Colonel Carter.

Riding down the empty main street of Medicine Bend is the tough hired gunman Dingo Brion. He is here for one job only, to kill Marshall Calem Ware. With $100 in his pocket, he is about to try or die trying.

Meanwhile cooking breakfast is Molly (played by Ruth Donnelly), the owner of the local hotel Calem stays at. With a tap on the ceiling with a broom handle, (letting the Marshall upstairs know breakfast is ready), he gets dressed and ready for the days rounds. But before leaving the room, he opens the top draw of a cabinet and looks at a photo of woman. With a pause and a distant gaze, he closes the draw and heads for breakfast. The problem is the Marshall doesn’t sleep well anymore; he has killed too many men to allow his mind to rest. And there are too many more men still out to take him down. Molly looks after him well, like an old mother hen. He loves her for it, and she loves him. But his mind and stomach aren’t on breakfast this morning, or any other morning for that matter. Calem knows another man is out there waiting for him. He doesn’t want to worry Molly, so he keeps up the jokes and asks her what she is cooking for lunch. Upon hearing the menu, excited he tells Molly he’ll have to marry her. He then leaves, but she knows he is worried.

Crossing the street Calem runs across Asaph Dean and Cora Dean (played by Jean Parker). Planning to meet up later that morning, they part company for now. Further down the street we see Hamer Thorne looking on; he and Cora Dean have had a recent past together. A past her husband Asaph wouldn’t be too happy about if he knew. But Hamer has grown tired of the affair with Cora, he wants to move on.

The Marshal on his daily rounds comes across Cody, the owner of the ‘New Frontier’ saloon; he is also a gambler who talks too much about other people’s business. Calem reminds Cody that a man’s tongue can act like a shovel; it can dig his own grave. Cody and Hamer are ‘business’ partners, although not friends.

A wagon pulls into town, full of theatre performers. The stage manager Mr Willis jumps off first but isn’t happy about playing in Medicine Bend. Part of the theatre group is lead dancer Taleen Dickenson (played by Agatha Christie); she is also the women in the photo from the top drawer. For now, acting like they never met, they are introduced by Hamer. Hamer is in love with Tally, and Tally is with him. Hamer wants to marry her, but she is yet to decide. What Hamer doesn’t know, is Tally is still married to Marshal Calem from many years earlier.

Finally Dingo makes his move on Calem; but even when he thinks the Marshal is at a disadvantage; doesn’t get to finish the job. After every shooting Ware loses more nerve, he has killed so many men now it is getting to him. Asaph Dean meets Ware in the jail after the shooting; he is behind the Marshal all the way and lets him know he is always there if needed. Dr Amos (played by Wallace Ford), comes in, he is also a good friend. He has Dingos personal belongings with him, including five double eagles ($100 in coins) which were in Dingo’s pockets. It was advance payment in return for killing Calem; money Dingo will never get to spend. But more importantly to the Marshal, who paid him for the job? Dr Amos tries to make Calem leave, get away from this life; his job is done, he has nothing more to prove to anyone.

Dingo’s brother Dooley (played by Don Megawan) and his widow Mrs Brion come to town for the body. Dooley is a large man known for his bad temper. Calem is warned by Dr Amos to avoid Dooley. But Calem has a job to do and warns Dooley not to cause trouble. Mrs Brion knows her husband was up to no good when he came to town, yet strangely still blames Ware for his death. Calem tries to hand her the $100 in coins that were found on Dingos body; but Dooley throws them back. It’s blood money, they don’t want it.

Don Megawan played the part of the Gill-Man in ‘The Creature Walks Amoung Us’. A 1956 B-grade horror, for which he appeared in one year after this movie.

It isn’t long before Dooly gets drunk at the First Frontier saloon and the Marshal is sent for. Here they duke it out and both end up on the ground in pieces. But Calem gets up just enough to make it known he is the victor. Dooley is taken to prison by a few men. Marshal Ware just manages to stumble back to the jail on his own two feet after fighting the large, tough Dooley. Yet upon arriving on the jails doorstep, he nearly collapses. The Doc helps him through it, but his gun hand is busted. The one tool he needs to use against the next hired gun is now damaged.

Cody and Hamer meet with a hired gun, Harley Baskam (played by Australian Michael Pate). They need Calem and Asaph Dean out of the way. They have heard a smelter for the mines will be built in Medicine Bend. This would mean the ore can be processed in town, not hundreds of miles away. It would bring in money, big money. So with only Asaph and Calem in the way, they need a gunslinger to take them both out. This is why they have been on a mission to kill the Marshal.  

Here they make two mistakes:

1/ Trying again to take the Marshal’s life through a hired gunslinger.

2/ Offering to pay Baskam too much. This $5000 bounty (way more than usual), makes Baskam suspicious. So after some questions, he now wants 1/3rd of all money made through the mine, when it reopens instead.

Mrs Brion appears at the jail and begs Ware to release Dooley. He lets Dooley go for her sake only; she will need his help now Dingo is gone.

Baskam and Calem meet in the saloon. But with a busted right hand, the Marshal has no chance to draw his gun in time. He goes down. Everyone thinks he is dead. Dr Amos confirms it after examining the body. But Calem isn’t dead. Dr Amos is covering for him, he grabs Dooley standing close by (Dooley now has a lot of respect for the Marshal), and they both carry him back to the cell to recover.

Now everyone thinks that Marshal is dead; the town opens up. Saloons are purchased cheap by Hamer (with the help of Baskam’s gun). Hamer, Cody and Baskam now own and run Medicine Bend. Now the town is back to the rough and wild place it was 20 years earlier. Hamer makes a visit to Asaph at his ranch to warn him to keep away; it is their town now. Just for fun he also mentions to Asaph the affair he had with Cora (Asaph’s wife); was just for laughs.

Tally decides to cut and run again. This decision is made even after Dr Amos tells her Calem is alive and well. She doesn’t care, she wants to get out as soon as she can. Upon hearing this, Dr Amos gives her a piece of his mind, good on you Amos, just what we were thinking!

With the town now out of control and law and order gone, Cody, Hamer and Baskam are all happy. But Calem finally makes a recovering; he is ready to make those responsible pay. As he walks the street, the crowd noise softens…the crowds stop cheering. He is back. Back to take the town and restore order to Medicine Bend. Cody and Hamer are now scarred; Baskam wants another shot at Calem. He doesn’t get it.

Justice finally comes to Cody by way of Hamers gun. Hamer is arrested alive. He will have to answer for his crimes and by hung.

Tally doesn’t leave, she finally realizes she loves Calem and together they ride off for a new start…but will she leave him again?

As a parting gift to the Doc; Calem hands him a gift wrapped box. Upon opening it, the Doc finds his gun; a gun he will no longer need. He is finally at peace.

‘A Lawless Street’ is a great movie. A classic old western that shouldn’t be missed. If you haven’t seen this classic, please do. It is readily available on DVD, so you can find it out there. Out of the hundred movies Randolph Scott appeared in, only a small percentage make their way to TV or DVD. So you have to get them while you can, and enjoy them.

Who Else Could have Played That Part?

Gary Cooper would have done a fine job.

James

All posts on this blog are done by me, and are copyright to www.classicoldmoviesofyesterday.com

Operation Petticoat – Starring Cary Grant & Tony Curtis

Please Note: Review Contains Plot Lines and Spoilers.

Operation Petticoat: Stars Legendary Cary Grant (Commander Matt Sherman) with general cast including: Tony Curtis (Lieutenant Nick Holden), Joan O’Brien (Dolores Crandall), Dick Sargent (Ensign Stovall), Arthur O’Connell (Sam Tostin), Gene Evans (Molumphry), Gavin MacLeod (Ernest Huncle)…

Released in 1959 by Universal International and presented in colour.

The Sea Tiger is due to be sunk at 9am. The man to press the button is (the now) Admiral Matt Sherman (played by Cary Grant), boss of Submarine Specific. Early that morning an older, grey haired Sherman comes on board with his service log-book for one last time before the demolition. A Commander at the time, Matt Sherman was the first skipper of the Sea Tiger. Looking at the ‘USS Sea Tigers Captain’s Log’, he begins to read back on his first command. We are now taken back in time…

It is now 1941 – World War 2; the Japanese pilots are bombing the sea port at which the Sea Tiger is stationed. Once the raid is over, the submarine is heavily damaged and half sunk. Captain Henderson (played by Robert F Simon) believes the submarine should now be used for scrap metal. Believing it just needs some repairs, Sherman does his best to convince the Captain otherwise. All he will need are parts and the extra crew members that were previously reassigned, sent back to help (those he doesn’t get). So after convincing the Captain, with very little time and on a skeleton crew, the massive repair job begins.

Chief Molumphry (played by Gene Evans) is having a good laugh while peering through the subs periscope. He has spotted a polished and pressed Lieutenant Nick Holden – an Admirals aid (played by Tony Curtis) standing on the dock. Molumphry and some of the other crew (including the Commander), find Holden’s attire very amusing under the circumstances. A clean pressed white uniform stands out very brightly on a dirty, bomb wrecked Naval port; especially when everyman around him is covered in dirt and grease from working on the sub. Lieutenant Nick Holden is from the high class social set, out to meet any beautiful and rich woman he can (married or not), in return for the good life. He is one of the replacements sent for the Sea Tiger; but what they don’t know yet is that Holden is also a chief scrounger and conman.

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Although Cary Grant is billed as the lead in this film, it was in fact Tony Curtis. Tony Curtis had always liked and admired Cary Grant from a young age, and enjoyed his movie ‘Destination Tokyo’ so much, that when he joined the service himself, it was in the Navy. At the time this film was made (in the late 1950’s), Tony Curtis was at the height of his stardom and bargaining power with the studio heads. He wanted Cary Grant in the film. Out of respect for his movie hero, Curtis took second place billing.

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Meeting with Lieutenant Holden, Commander Sherman learns that his earlier service in the Navy (before being an Admirals aid) was as an ‘ideas man’. Sherman soon realizes the only duty Nick has really done in uniform, is to use it to get girls and special treatment where and when he can.

Keeping up with the submarine repairs, the Commander speaks with Hunkle (played by Gavin MacLeod) regarding the whereabouts of the supplies on order. Hunkle is having no luck acquiring any of the parts needed, not even toilet paper is being sent through. This is where Nick Holden comes into play; as a scrounger he can find the supplies needed. So with a promise to Sherman that he can supply anything they need, he is given the job as the new supply officer. Of course Holden has his own interests in mind when volunteering. So with a few select men he goes out shopping later that night.

Gavin MacLeod went on to be best known as the Doctor in the TV show ‘The Love Boat’ and also appeared in ‘McHale’s Navy’.

After dark, dressed in black clothes and with face paint on; Nick Holden and two sailors including Hunkle head to acquire the much needed supplies. It is here we learn that Hunkle has a special tattoo on his chest. A tattoo of a woman (named Girtie). Too scared to show his fiance back home, he had to re-enlist to avoid the trouble it would cause when she found out. While outside waiting for the others to collect all the supplies, Holden is caught by a patrolling MP. But with his gift of the gab, the MP’s soon drive off, and they get away clean. Their covert shopping spree has gone unnoticed.

Along with the parts taken (stolen), Holden finds a friend. An escaped Prisoner named Ramon. Ramon is a Marine Sergeant (played by Clarence Lung). Together they are the perfect scroungers (supply officers). Not happy about this, Commander Sherman tries to avoid taking Ramon along. But after Nick reminds Matt that Ramon happens to also be an informer, the Commander has no option. Ramon joins the crew. It should be said to everyone’s relief; the toilet paper was also obtained. But we find out that most of these supplies actually came from the Naval yard, which has now been stripped clean without any care in hiding the fact. Captain Henderson is trying to find out from Sherman, where all the supplies went; including his office wall. But before any excuses can be made the Japanese begin bombing again. Meanwhile during the air-raid, Holden is out again procuring more supplies, his way.

Knowing the Japanese now have their position, the Sea Tiger is a sitting duck. Sherman wants to head for the island of Savu (about 400 miles away) for further repairs. The problem is the submarine isn’t fully repaired yet; it may not even be able to submerge. But after some agonizing moments the crew and the sub get under way…with the help of a witch doctor Ramon and Nick hired for the good luck cast off. Out to sea and underwater the Sea Tiger is tested for stability by diving very deep. Apart from a few harrowing moments, the crew are relieved she is seaworthy.

Now under way, Lieutenant Holden treats the submarine like it is his own 5 star hotel, expecting breakfast in bed and wearing specially tailored clothing. But he is soon put into place by the Commander. While having their chat, they notice water at their feet. The sub is now leaking. They immediately take the submarine to the nearest island they find.

During the stop over, Holden is sent out to scavenge for more supplies for the half finished submarine. But instead he comes back in an inflatable raft full of women (Army Nurses), he found stranded on the island. Ensign Stovall (played by Dick Sargent), thinks this is amusing. He goes on to point out to the Commander, that women also have their uses. Sherman agrees, but is not overly amused.

Dick Sargent doesn’t have a huge amount of screen time in this movie. Never the less, if you are a fan of Dick Sargent (from his Bewitched fame), I am sure you will enjoy his performance in this movie.   

Major Haywood (played by Virginia Gregg) is the first to come aboard, followed by four more women (causing all the men on deck to crowd around for a closer look). Lastly to come out of the raft and on deck is Lieutenant Crandall (played by Joan O’Brien).

Having attractive woman on-board in a cramped submarine with men at sea, lends itself to some comedy and romance. But it is a 1959 movie so it is only hinted at of course. Holden tries his best to get better acquainted with Barbara (played by Dina Merrell); while the clumsy Lieutenant Crandall falls for Sherman. Machinist mate Tostin (played by Arthur O’Connell) is overrun by Major Haywood, who continually gets in his way. Later to his surprise, he finds out she is very good with machine repairs herself, and they become very close.

Before long the submarine comes across a Japanese ship and they decide to take a shot. But just before firing the torpedo, Crandall interrupts Sherman to give him his daily vitamin pill (she desperately feels he is lacking in vitamins). The torpedo is set astray, and now hits a parked truck on an island instead. This alerts the Japanese ship who are now on their tail.

Escaping the ship and arriving at Savu they find most of the Military are pulling out and expecting the Japanese to arrive soon. So instead of dropping off the woman on Savu as planned, they must all now remain on the Sea Tiger. While there, Holden is sent out for more supplies. But this time he works it so the supplies come to him. Setting up a rigged casino, he has the soldiers from around the island bring in parts for the submarine in return for chips to use on the tables, rigged casino tables. Paint is the next supply they ‘purchase’. But without enough to cover the entire submarine, they must mix all the colours together to make it stretch. This mixing forms a very unattractive colour. The Sea Tiger is now pink!

On the way home from their night of scrounging, both Hunkle and Lieutenant Holden come across a farm full of pigs. It is New Year’s Eve so they decide to catch one, but it is more difficult than they bargained for. This sets the scene for a great moment in the movie. The pig is wrapped in a towel, sitting in the front seat, in the middle of the two men. Stopped by an MP at a road block, he is told that the ‘oinking’ pig is actually a sick sailor. The MP thinks its the ugliest sailor he has ever seen. Making their way past one road block they hit another. The pig’s owner has tracked them down to the Sea Tiger. This pig procurement ends up costing Holden more than he had wished for.

During the submarines painting, New Years is celebrated on deck. The relationships between the men and nurses become closer and Sherman gets a burned backside for his romantic troubles with Crandall. They once again come under fire from Japanese planes and in the confusion some locals get on board including a pregnant woman. She later gives birth to a boy on board the sub.

The US Navy now assumes the Pink Sub is actually a Japanese submarine in disguise (a decoy). So on site they begin firing and use depth charges. Using the old oil and clothing (including woman’s clothing) in the torpedo shoots; the submarine crew fool the ships above into thinking they were sunk. The Sea Tiger can now make its way back home.

We see at the end Lieutenant Holden is now Captain Holden, and Commander Sherman is now Admiral Sherman. Both now married with kids to a couple of the nurses they had rescued. Admiral Sherman hands the log book over to Captain Holden.

Operation Petticoat is a classic old service comedy of the 1950’s. With the likes of Cary Grant and Tony Curtis, it couldn’t be anything else but a classic. I have seen it countless times over the years and I enjoy it over and over. It is not a movie you need to consider watching, if you get a chance to see this movie you will really like it I’m sure.

Who Else Could Have Played That Part?

Robert Taylor, Bob Hope and Jeff Chandler were all considered for the part of Commander Matt Sherman. Robert Taylor and Bob Hope declined, Jeff Chandler was ill at the time. All three classic actors could have played the part well I am sure. But one actor I have no doubt could have played the part was Rock Hudson. I think with his humour and comedic talent, he would have also been a perfect fit.

James

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