Coast Guard (film)

Coast Guard is a 1939 American adventure film released by Columbia Pictures, directed by Edward Ludwig and starring Randolph Scott, Frances Dee and Ralph Bellamy. It is set before World War II.

Coast Guard
Directed byEdward Ludwig
Produced byFred Kohlmar
Written by
Music byM.W. Stoloff
CinematographyLucien Ballard
Edited byGene Milford
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • August 4, 1939 (1939-08-04)
Running time
71 min.
CountryUnited States

The Hollywood Reporter indicated that Frances Dee replaced Gene Tierney in the role of Nancy Bliss. Coast Guard was the first film of actor Michael Gale, who changed his name in 1941 to Craig Stevens.[1]


Lieutenant Raymond "Ray" Dower (Ralph Bellamy) commands a United States Coast Guard cutter. His best friend in the Coast Guard, Lieutenant Thomas "Speed" Bradshaw (Randolph Scott), is a highly regarded, but reckless pilot. In a daring rescue at sea, both men are involved in saving Tobias Bliss (Walter Connolly), the captain of a tramp steamer. At the base hospital, the two officers visit the rescued man and meet Nancy (Frances Dee), his granddaughter. Both friends fall in love with her, but Speed proposes first; broken-hearted, Ray still acts as the best man at the wedding.

The marriage falters, and when Nancy is fed up with many lonely nights alone, she leaves Speed. In trying to win her back, Speed crashes while stunting over her house. Grounded and facing a court-martial, the disgraced pilot finds out that his best friend is missing while on an Arctic rescue mission. Nancy coaxes Speed and his co-pilot, O'Hara (Warren Hymer), to attempt a rescue, and after a harrowing crash-landing in the Arctic, an injured Ray is located. Speed manages a dangerous takeoff and flies his friend back home, to find a relieved Nancy waiting for him.


As credited, with screen roles identified:[2]

[Note 1]


Coast Guard was a period B film actioner, combining exciting coast guard rescues with a typical romantic sub-plot: "friends in love with girl, girl picks cad, romance in trouble, all is right in the end". An array of stock footage and model work is mixed in with live action. As one of the many serials, features and shorts that was based on the United States Coast Guard, the "B" feature was notable in that it featured a trio of rising stars, Randolph Scott, Ralph Bellamy (in another one of his "buddy" roles as the steady and dependable friend) and Frances Dee. Principal photography took place at the Columbia Studios and on location along the California coastline from April 26–June 16, 1939.[3] Coast Guard highlighted the state-of-the-art rescue equipment used by the USCG, including the Douglas Dolphin seaplane.[4][5]


Leonard Maltin, in a later review, commented, "Routine but action-filled hokum with similarities to Capra's Dirigible." [6]



  1. Other actors in uncredited roles include Ann Doran as a nurse, Raymond Bailey as First Officer and Don Beddoe as Proprietor.


  1. "Notes: Coast Guard (1939)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: May 15, 2013.
  2. "Cast: Coast Guard (1939)". IMDb. Retrieved: May 16, 2013.
  3. "Original Print Information: 'Coast Guard'(1939)." Turner Classic Movies, 2013. Retrieved: May 16, 2013.
  4. Sims 1976, pp. 32–33.
  5. Wainwright 2011, pp. 23–24.
  6. Maltin, Leonard. "Leonard Maltin Movie Review." Turner Classic Movies, 2013. Retrieved: May 16, 2013.


  • Bowers, Peter M. "Douglas Dolphin." Airpower, Volume 12, Number 6, November 1982.
  • Carlson, Mark. Flying on Film: A Century of Aviation in the Movies, 1912–2012. Duncan, Oklahoma: BearManor Media, 2012. ISBN 978-1-59393-219-0.
  • Francillon, René J. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920, Volume 1. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., Second revised edition, 1988, 1979. ISBN 0-85177-827-5.
  • Sims, Don. "U.S.C.G. Aviation ... A History." Air Classics Quarterly Review, Volume 3, No. 2, Summer 1976.
  • Wainwright, Marshall. "Dolphin from Douglas: Part Two." Air Classics, Volume 47, No. 5, May 2011.
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