The Captain Hates The Sea

  • 1934
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy

Episodic maritime soap opera that chronicles the stories of several characters on an ocean cruise. Keating and Vinson play a couple who have stolen bonds and are constantly trying to keep one step ahead of detective McLaglen. Gilbert (in a role uncomfortably close to being autobiographical) plays a chronic alcoholic who takes the cruise to dry out. Unfortunately,...read more

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Episodic maritime soap opera that chronicles the stories of several characters on an ocean cruise. Keating and Vinson play a couple who have stolen bonds and are constantly trying to keep one step ahead of detective McLaglen. Gilbert (in a role uncomfortably close to being

autobiographical) plays a chronic alcoholic who takes the cruise to dry out. Unfortunately, he is failing miserably and his drinking becomes even worse. Gibson plays a girl whose past catches up with her, sending her husband into a jealous frenzy which gets him thrown into the brig for the

duration of the voyage. Skipworth plays a wealthy widow who takes off with Vinson's husband, Keating. Comic relief is provided by Errol and Catlett, who pop up whenever needed. The whole ship is steered by Connolly, who hates his job and the people he has to ferry around the ocean. Not bad for a

kind of GRAND HOTEL of the sea, this comedic effort, much better than its box office response would indicate, was in the zany tradition of many silent classics. Moreover, the cast was made up of a bevy of ruthless drinkers, especially Gilbert (born John Pringle, 1895), the great matinee idol of

the silent screen who had taken to the bottle when his on-and-off screen lover Garbo refused to marry him. Booze and not Garbo would be his constant companion until his premature death shortly after this, his last film, in 1936. Gilbert's mercurial career had plummeted with the advent of the

talkies, not, as is generally believed, because his voice was unsuited to the new medium. As a matter of fact, Gilbert had a fine, resonant voice, and it was MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer who made sure that Gilbert's talkie career was sabotaged in his first talking picture, HIS GLORIOUS NIGHT, by

directing sound technicians to accelerate those portions of the sound track carrying Gilbert's voice so that his voice sounded high-pitched, causing the audience to jeer and laugh. This manufactured audience response is what Mayer used to cancel Gilbert's expensive MGM contract. THE CAPTAIN HATES

THE SEA was loaded with so many heavy drinkers--Gilbert, McLaglen, Connolly, Errol, and Catlett--that director Milestone, also a generous tippler, had difficulty keeping them sober from scene to scene during the on-location shooting which dragged on and on, going way over budget. The

cost-conscious head of Columbia, Harry Cohn, took one look at the balance sheet and hit the ceiling, sending a cable to the sea-going director Milestone: "Hurry up! The cost is staggering!" Milestone wired back: "So is the cast!"

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Episodic maritime soap opera that chronicles the stories of several characters on an ocean cruise. Keating and Vinson play a couple who have stolen bonds and are constantly trying to keep one step ahead of detective McLaglen. Gilbert (in a role uncomfortab… (more)

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