Don't Go Near the Water (film)

Don't Go Near the Water is a 1957 comedy film about a U.S. Navy public relations unit stationed on an island in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. It is an adaptation of the 1956 novel of the same name by William Brinkley. Glenn Ford and Gia Scala star. This is the first of several service comedies that Ford appeared in after the huge success of Teahouse of the August Moon. The movie was very successful and further solidified Ford's reputation as an adept comedic actor.

Don't Go Near the Water
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCharles Walters
Produced byLawrence Weingarten
Screenplay byDorothy Kingsley
George Wells
Based onDon't Go Near the Water
1956 novel
by William Brinkley
StarringGlenn Ford
Gia Scala
Earl Holliman
Anne Francis
Keenan Wynn
Fred Clark
Music byBronislau Kaper
CinematographyRobert J. Bronner
Edited byAdrienne Fazan
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • November 14, 1957 (1957-11-14)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$6,140,000[1]


Lieutenant (j.g.) Max Siegel (Glenn Ford) and other US Navy personnel are stuck in a public relations unit far from the fighting. Lieutenant Commander Clinton T. Nash (Fred Clark), their commanding officer and a stockbroker in civilian life, refuses to allow anyone to transfer out. Much of Siegel's time is spent showing war correspondents (like obnoxious Gordon Ripwell (Keenan Wynn)) and visiting Congressmen around the island.

One day, Siegel spots beautiful local schoolteacher Melora Alba (Gia Scala). Despite some formidable obstacles, he eventually wins her love. However, they break up when he wants to live in New York City to further his career, while she feels she is needed on the island.

Meanwhile, Siegel's yeoman, Adam Garrett (Earl Holliman), falls in love with Navy nurse Alice Tomlen (Anne Francis), which constitutes a serious breach of Navy regulations, as Tomlen is an officer while Garrett is only an enlisted man. However, Siegel pretends to be dating her himself in order to give Garrett the opportunity to spend time with her. This couple also fall in love. When Nash finds out, Siegel suggests a fitting punishment would be a transfer to a fighting unit (something Garrett very much wants).

With the Army hogging the news headlines, Nash comes up with the idea to take an ordinary sailor and send him on a morale-boosting tour, all highly publicized. He chooses Farragut Jones (Mickey Shaughnessy) (a fine naval name). Unfortunately, Jones turns out to be foul-mouthed and heavily tattooed, not exactly what Nash had hoped for. He assigns Siegel to smooth out Jones's rough edges, with limited success.

Later, Siegel has to escort another war correspondent, the shapely and blonde Deborah Aldrich (Eva Gabor), when she finagles her way aboard a heavy cruiser on its way to a combat operation, much to Admiral Junius Boatwright's (Howard Smith) disapproval.

With the end of the war, Siegel realizes that he cannot live without Melora, and decides to remain on the island.



According to MGM records, the film earned $4,265,000 in the US and Canada, and $1,875,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $1,004,000.[1]

See also


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
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