UK / 1962
Dir: Gerald Thomas
Writer: Norman Hudis, based on a story by Eric Barker
Cast: Sidney James, Kenneth Williams, Kenneth Connor, Liz Fraser, Dilys Laye, Lance Percival, Jimmy Thompson, Cyril Chamberlain, Esma Cannon, Vincent Ball
The SS Happy Wanderer, commanded by Captain Crowther (Sidney James) is due to cast off on a Mediterranean cruise when he discovers that his regular key personnel of officers and crew have, for one reason or another, been replaced by a bunch of raw but well-intentioned strangers. The first officer, having won the pools, is succeeded by Leonard Marjoribanks (Kenneth Williams); the ship’s doctor, tired of a life afloat, has swapped his post with Arthur Binn (Kenneth Connor); the ship’s cook has relinquished his position to another son of a sea-cook, Wilfred Haines (Lance Percival) and the ship’s steward, having been forced into matrimony, has been replaced by Sam Turner (Jimmy Thompson) who (horror of horrors!) does not know the formula for the Captain’s favourite tipple, the “Aberdeen Angus”. The final blow is yet to fall, however, because Captain Crowther’s highly valued personal steward has broken his leg, and his substitute, Tom Tree (Cyril Chamberlain) has been taken into service on the strength of three cross-Channel trips.
Once afloat, the passengers begin to add their complications to the already explosive situation. Florence Castle (Dilys Laye) and Gladys Trimble (Liz Fraser) are two friends on the lookout for Mediterranean romance and both immediately fall under the spell of the ship’s husky physical training instructor, Jenkins (Vincent Ball). Said Variety: “Lance Percival, as the tyro ship’s cook, has some bright moments” and “Dilys Laye, a comparative newcomer to this frenzied scene, works hard in some brittle comedy campaigns. Direction by Gerald Thomas is boisterously effective…”