In the Navy (1941) starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Dick Powell, the Andrews Sisters
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello‘s follow up after the amazing success of Buck Privates was In the Navy — which actually did better than Buck Privates. Like their previous film, Shemp Howard and the Andrews Sisters provide a comic foil and musical interludes, respectively. In a nutshell, Abbott and Costello join the Navy, get involved in a romantic subplot with Dick Powell, and do some of their most famous routines, including a version of the con artist shell game using lemons, and Lou demonstrating his clownish math skills by trying to prove that 28 divided by 7 equals 13 — this bit alone is worth the price of admission.
Another classic clown routine that they include here is “Busy Bee,” (known here as “I’ll take the water”) where Lou gets “initiated” into a group on board ship — and ends up getting soaked. He, in turn, is egged on by Shemp Howard to play the same prank on Bud — and, after some great clowning but Bud, Lou again gets soaked!
I rate it 4 stars out of 5.
Editorial Reviews of Abbott and Costello’s In the Navy, courtesy Amazon.com
After the huge success of Buck Privates (cleverly referenced in a spoofing credits sequence), Abbott and Costello traded army green for navy blue to play landlocked gobs sent to sea after six years in the service. The actual story belongs to Dick Powell, who plays a radio crooner who has ditched fame and fawning fans for the sailor’s life, while an ambitious female reporter (Claire Dodd) shadows the singer and stows aboard his battleship to expose his secret. Meanwhile Bud Abbott continues to con the ever-gullible Lou Costello, and Costello woos Patty from the Andrews Sisters. Director Arthur Lubin overcomes bargain-basement production values (rear projection footage, toy boat special effects) with the snappy repartee and energetic by-play of his stars. Skit highlights include a typically crooked Bud Abbott shell game, a hysterical series of spit-gags (in which the boys keep cracking up on camera), Costello’s mathematical proof that 7 times 13 equals 28, and the climactic toy boat fantasy of naval maneuvers gone mad, courtesy of Captain Costello. The Andrews Sisters sing four songs (including “Gimme Some Skin“), Dick Powell sings two, and the Condos brothers perform a delightful dance specialty act. The boys would once again overcome Lubin’s lackluster direction in their next release, Hold That Ghost , which was actually shot before this film. —Sean Axmaker –This text refers to the DVD edition.
Funny movie quotes from In the Navy
Seaman Pomeroy Watson (Lou Costello): Yeah, and I come out the same way.
Trivia for In the Navy
- When the picture was sent to the U.S. Navy for approval, the Navy refused to have its name associated with it because of the sequence at the end when Watson takes over a ship and does some decidedly un-military maneuvers with it. The producers came up with the idea of having Watson accidentally taking a sleeping potion and dreaming the entire sequence. When this scene was shot and edited in, the Navy lent its backing to the picture.
- During the “I’ll Take the Water” routine, in which the sailors fill their mouths with water in order to spray Lou Costello, Costello actually cracked up and spit his mouthful of water onto the floor, but the take was so funny it was kept in the film.
- This movie was actually filmed after Hold That Ghost, but they released it first because the public wanted to see some “service pictures.” After “In the Navy” was released, Universal revamped “Hold That Ghost” to add a romantic subplot and some musical numbers for the Andrews Sisters and Ted Lewis’s band, which hadn’t been in the original cut.
- The group gets assigned to the USS Alabama and sets sail for Pearl Harbor, HI from San Diego, CA. With the movie being released on 30 May 1941, the real USS Alabama (BB-60) was commissioned on 16 Aug 1942 and earned nine battle stars during her service in World War II.