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Star of the Month: Glenn Ford
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suppliedTitle,Don't Go Near the Water

Don't Go Near the Water

Though considered a "woman's director" in Hollywood, Charles Walters was put in charge of this testosterone-fueled MGM service comedy, set on a fictitious South Pacific island during the final months of World War II. Based on the 1956 novel by William Brinkley, Don't Go Near the Water (1957) stars Glenn Ford as a sardonic Navy lieutenant removed from the heat of battle to cool his heels in a rear echelon public relations unit led by former stockbroker Fred Clark. A loose-knit collection of comic gags leapfrogging the calendar on a course for VJ Day, the film jumps from one vignette to the next as Ford romances islander Gia Scala, enlisted man Earl Holliman courts officer Anne Francis, and Clark orchestrates the disastrous construction/destruction of an officer's club. Comic cameos are provided by Keenan Wynn as a vainglorious war correspondent, Mary Wickes as a wry Navy nurse making the most of the shortage of women, Russ Tamblyn as an ensign eager to see action, Eva Gabor as a sexy journalist who wears black lingerie into combat, and Mickey Shaughnessy as a profanity-prone swabbie whom Ford must groom as poster boy for Navy recruitment. Strictly a backlot, rear projection, and stock footage affair, Don't Go Near the Water remains a winning wartime farce in the grand tradition of Mr. Roberts (1955), Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), and Stripes (1981). By Richard Harland Smith



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