6.4/10
608
12 user 7 critic

South Sea Woman (1953)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 27 June 1953 (USA)
AWOL marine Sgt. Jim O'Hearn is court-martialed for a variety of offenses that carry 143 years in the stockade or the death penalty but refuses to aid in his own defense.

Director:

Arthur Lubin

Writers:

Edwin Blum (screenplay), Earl Baldwin (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Master Gunnery Sgt. James O'Hearn
Virginia Mayo ... Ginger Martin
Chuck Connors ... Pvt. Davey White
Arthur Shields ... 'Jimmy-legs' Donovan
Barry Kelley ... Col. Hickman
Leon Askin ... Pierre Marchand
Veola Vonn Veola Vonn ... Lillie Duval
Bob Sweeney ... Defense Lt. Miller
Hayden Rorke ... Prosecution Lt. Fears
Raymond Greenleaf ... Captain at Court-Martial
Paul Burke ... Ensign at Court-Martial
Henri Letondal Henri Letondal ... Alphonse
William O'Leary William O'Leary ... Smith - Embezzler
John Alderson John Alderson ... Fitzroy - Baritone
George Saurel George Saurel ... Jacques (as Georges Saurel)
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Storyline

Marine Sergeant James O'Hearn is being tried at the San Diego Marine base for desertion, theft, scandalous conduct and destruction of property in time of war. He refuses to testify or plead guilty or not guilty to the charges. Showgirl Ginger Martin takes the stand against his protest. She testifies O'Hearn won't talk because he is protecting the name of his pal, Marine Private Davey White. Ginger tells how she, broke and stranded, met the two marines in Shanghai two weeks before Pearl Harbor. White proposes marriage so that Ginger can be evacuated from China as his wife. Before the ceremony, the two Marines get into a fight with the natives and escape with Ginger aboard a small motor boat. They wind up in Namou, a Vichy French island, and are quartered in a run-down hotel. O'Hearn discovers a Nazi yacht delivering radar supplies to the island, and plans to seize it with the help of the Free French. White refuses to join and says he is deserting and intends to remain on the island ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A THOUSAND ROUSIN'CAROUSIN' THRILLS! ( original window card-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Japanese | Mandarin

Release Date:

27 June 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sulu Sea See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Burt Lancaster takes his shirt off in this movie; Chuck Connors does not. See more »

Goofs

At the opening of the court martial, when the judge asks, "Is the prosecution ready to proceed?" the JAG lieutenant (Hayden Rorke) responds, "Aye, sir." US Marines and Naval personnel use "yes" to respond to a question in the affirmative, and "aye" to respond to an order. A lieutenant would know this. See more »

Quotes

Master Gunnery Sgt. James O'Hearn: Nice place you got here, Madame!
Lillie Duval: [referring to the three prostitutes in her stable] You do not like my darling nieces, monsieur?
Master Gunnery Sgt. James O'Hearn: [ogling her] I stopped picking green apples when I left the farm. Ripe fruit is sweeter.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Queer as Folk: Stand Up for Ourselves (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Hail to the Chief
(uncredited)
Music by James Sanderson
Played when Jim leaves the IOU
See more »

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User Reviews

 
High jinx in the Pacific.
3 November 2008 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Sergeant James O'Hearn is standing on trial for a number of serious misdemeanours, refusing to testify or even state his defence, the outlook is very bleak. Much against his wishes, good time girl Ginger Martin takes to the stand and the whole case against O'Hearn is going to be seen in a very different light. A tale of loves, friendships, rivalry's, bad luck, but most of all, heroism in the line of duty.

The genre police have tagged this picture as an action/comedy/romance set just prior to the Pacific hostilities in WWII. That it's a multi genre piece is a given, that it's also an odd bit of cinema is also very much understandable. That's the only real complaint with South Sea Woman, it's so jaunty and full of fun that when we get to the wonderful, bold and tough last quarter, you are not exactly sure how to feel. It's like entering a fancy dress party and winning first prize but then suddenly being told the prize is for worst costume of the night!

Anyway, the cast seem to be having a right laugh with it, Burt Lancaster (0'Hearn) and Chuck Connors (Davey White) are constantly at loggerheads about their participation in the conflict, and the direction they should be taking (humouressly so), because right in between them is Virginia Mayo (Ginger), sparklingly pretty she's all set to marry White, but O'Hearn is doing his hardest to ensure that that doesn't happen. This is the mainstay of the film, we (they) lurch from one fight to another, from one daft encounter to the next, bad luck and sheer bravado constantly zipping around with our protagonists, and then the shift to full blown drama. It ties up all the loose ends, and it in no way is a cop out ending, in fact far from it, but it does take some getting used to and even some time after the credits have rolled I personally was a bit bemused.

It's a recommended film, if only for the sparky cast it is worth it, but just go into it expecting a whisk in the blender and you will be OK. 6/10


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