This funny but slightly overlong peacetime service comedy was directed by LeRoy, who had already shown his ability with men in uniform in MR. ROBERTS and NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS. Shawn, a WW II veteran, is comfortably ensconced in a new career as a restaurateur when he is mistakenly
redrafted and shipped off to the lonely Pacific island of Shima, where tedium is rampant. It's all a bureaucratic screw-up, but these things take time to rectify, so Shawn has to make the best of it while governmental red tape strangles his requests to be released. Kovacs is the commander of the
radar station that dominates the island, and he does his best to keep his men amused by arranging sports tournaments, classes in ornithology, anything to maintain their morale. When Shawn meets McCarthy, the mayor's daughter, she informs him of a natural spa. Shawn then comes up with the idea of
building a luxury hotel that will bring tourists and revenue to the island. There are piles of surplus equipment and supplies just lying around, and after Shawn convinces Kovacs of the merits of his plan, the servicemen are recruited to build the hotel. Warden, the base physician, requests that
Moore, an Air Force nurse, be transferred to the island. She arrives and her main job is to keep Kovacs in line; too much time on the island has caused him to become eccentric. Naturallly, Kovacs finds Moore to his liking, and love blossoms. The local natives had been carping about the presence of
the US personnel, but now they see that they are to be the recipients of real US aid. When the hotel opens, it is a hit with tourists. Everyone is making money, and there is a smile on the face of each islander. Then trouble comes when an article is published that claims that the hotel offers much
more than the usual pleasures. An investigation of the allegations is called for, and a blow-hard senator (Dumke) and Air Force higher-ups are dispatched to Shima. The result is the instant court-martial of Shawn. Warden is called in to act as Shawn's defense attorney, and the courtroom scenes are
a riot. At the end, Shawn, who never should have been in service in the first place, is allowed to leave when the mistake that brought him in is discovered. Before that happens, though, we have laughed ourselves silly as Kovacs and the others cavort in a fine satire of life in the service.
Shawn had appeared in 1956's THE OPPOSITE SEX, but this was his first large role and he knew what to do with it, wringing every last laugh out of the schnook character he portrayed. Knotts had appeared for LeRoy in NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS; Strauss was already a veteran of service movies after having
been in SAILOR BEWARE; JUMPING JACKS; STALAG 17; THE BRIDGES OF TOKO-RI; and ATTACK. Marvin Kaplan scores in a brief comedy role and Tommy Nishimura is hysterical as an Asian who speaks superb Yiddish. If the voice of Col. Mulhern sounds familiar to older readers, that's because it belongs to Jay
Jostyn, who was "Mr. District Attorney" on the radio for many years. The idea of building a hotel using extra material from the US forces had already been seen before in THE TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON, but this film is sufficiently different to make it worth your while.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: This funny but slightly overlong peacetime service comedy was directed by LeRoy, who had already shown his ability with men in uniform in MR. ROBERTS and NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS. Shawn, a WW II veteran, is comfortably ensconced in a new career as a restaurat… (more)