Operation Petticoat

Synopsis: A submarine newly commissioned is damaged in the opening days of WW II. A captain, looking for a command insists he can get it to a dockyard and captain it. Going slowly to this site, they find a stranded group of Army nurses and must take them aboard. How bad can it get? Trying to get a primer coat on the sub, they have to mix white and red in order to have enough. When forced to flee the dock during an air attack, they find themselves with the world's only Pink submarine, still with 5 women in the tight quarters of a submarine.
Genre: Comedy, Romance, War
Director(s): Blake Edwards
Production: Universal Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
124 min

Good morning.

- Good morning, Sir.

Good morning.

Good morning. I just came to look around.

Yes, sir.

- All right if I go below?

Certainly, sir. Can I get you some coffee?

No, I'll just go below and wait

for the captain. Maybe later.

Well, sir.

- Chief.

Who's he?

That's Sherman.

- Yes?

And what is he doing here at six in the morning?

He came to make sure that you were comfortable.

Don't you know anything about submarines?

Yes, sure. I know Sherman. He's the boss of Submarines Pacific.

He was the first captain of this boat.

- Yes, I know that.

Then you should be able to figure out what he is doing here.

If you were the first skipper of the "Sea Tiger"

and you ordered her sent to the junkyard at nine

... what would you be doing at six?



December 10, 1941.

Moored starboard side to Machina Wharf. Cavite Navy Yard

Philippine Islands, for provisions and fuel.

Directive received from Commander Asiatic Fleet

"You will sink or destroy all enemy ships wherever encountered. "

Have advised Commander Submarine Force, Asiatic Fleet... .

that "Sea Tiger"

will be ready for sea at 19:00, 10 December 1941.

Captain! Captain!

Enemy planes over.

Ready on engines?

- The best we can, Sir.

Cut those lines!

Take cover!

I'm not denying we suffered minor damage, Sir, but

Minor damage??

What does it take to convince you? You've been sunk!

You ought to read your own report.

- Yes.

Bulkheads, main ballast tanks and pressure hull...

ripped by bomb fragments.

Engine room flooded, main induction and ventilation wrecked

torpedo tubes, motor controls and reduction gear inoperable

electrical equipment, wiring, gauges, gyro, radio. "

All you've got out there

is a periscope sitting on a couple of thousand tons of scrap metal.

What do you suggest, sir?

Should we underwater weld to jury patch the hull before pumping her out

or should we raise her first and then work on the hull?

Matt, with major repairs

and a complete overhaul

maybe Sea Tiger could be put back in commission.

A functioning Navy yard might do it.

- Sir.

My chiefs are pretty good hands.

They know they're on their own.

and what we're up against. But we think we

can get " Sea Tiger " back in the war.

Yes, on who's side?

We're due to evacuate back to Bataan on the 26th...

... two weeks to do a job a yard couldn't do in two months.

We don't think we can get her into

fighting trim right away...

repair it... just enough to

reach the nearest sub tender.

That would be the "Bushnell", in Darwin.

...almost two thousand miles of ocean...

with the Japanese Navy roaming over it.

And you're going to make it in a sub

held together with spit and bailing wire?


... the " Sea Tiger " deserves

a better epitaph than...

... "commissioned 1940,

sunk, 1941.


Shots fired:
none. "

You can't let her go that way, it's like...

... a beautiful woman dying an old

maid, if know what I mean...

...by an old maid.

Did you ever sell used cars?

- No, sir.

I think you missed your calling.

Okay, Matt. You've got two weeks

to get her out or we blow her up.

Fair enough.

By the way...

... three of my officers and eighteen

men have been transferred...

... How soon can I can get them back?

- You don't.

You'll have to get by with a skeleton crew.

I'll get you what replacements I can.

Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

All done.

Men, clean up later.

That's all we can do now.

An odd job but might hold alright.

Yes, sir.

Do you think the No. 2 tank will hold?

All that we can do is try, sir.

Which one are you holding?

- The left.

Well hang on.

Okay, give her some air.

I found it, I found it!

Found it. Look.

- I give up. What is it?

The cake that my mother sent me.

Isn't that nice. Take it to the

cook, maybe he'll warm it up.


Why couldn't she send

something we need?

Like a universal coupling joint.

What is it, Molumphry?

I do not know, sir.

Have a look.

Looks like the Good Humor man.

I wonder if he left his tie off.

- What's going on?

Take a look, sir.

- Okay.

Holy moly.

What is it?

I hope I'm wrong, but with that suitcase

I'd say he was one of the replacements.

Don't tell me that!

Oh, for heaven's sake!

- Do you know anything about him?

Only from the society pages

of the Honolulu newspapers;...

His name is Lieutenant Nick Holden.

- Holden.

He's the darling of the

high-class social set.

I'll bet he is.

- He and the Admiral's wife...

won the rumba championship

two years in a row!

Okay, fellows. Come on,

knock it off. Back to work.

Lieutenant Nick Holden,

reporting for duty, sir.

Excuse the misunderstanding,

Mr. Holden...

It's unusual to see an Admiral's

aide without the Admiral.

He was scheduled to be transferred. I was

sent to make arrangements...

then the war broke out...

- And you're stranded?

Yes, sir. Captain Henderson

assigned me to you...

He said to hurry...

before you left.

The bearings are okay sir...

but if we don't come up with

an oil pump shaft we will only...

...get out of here by rowing.

- Didn't Hunkle follow up the requisition?

Requisition? That's all we do.

But we never get anything.

We might as well write

a letter to Santa Claus.

Ya. Well, thank you, Tostin.

Have you ever been in a submarine?

- No, sir.

We need a torpedo and gunnery

officer. Any experience?

Guns? I'm afraid not, sir.

- How about navigation?

Terribly sorry.

- Communications?

Wish I could help, sir.

Tell me.

Before becoming an Admiral's aide

What did you do in the navy?

Well, sir, I was primarily an

idea man.

I see. Well...

Tell me - what does

an idea man do?

I coordinated the Navy day

parade in Milwaukee...

... and I was the special liaison officer

for the Eleventh Naval District.

Liaison? With what?

- Hollywood.

I coordinated the design

of admission posters.

From there I transferred to

Fleet Headquarters Honolulu.

Is that where they gave you sea duty?

No, sir. I was the Recreation Officer

at the Royal Arms Hotel.

Just for my information...

... What does an idea man

do in a hotel?

The Navy took over the hotel

for officer's training...

and I saw that

entertainment was provided.

Have you ever been to sea?

- Yes, sir, destroyer duty.

How did you find time for it?

- It was a mistake, sir.

A week after I left Honolulu

they got it straightened out.

Who, the Admiral or

the Admiral's wife?

She must be upset

with you out here ;...

that will cost her the rumba

championship this year.


Here you go, my man. Will you take

this bag and clubs to the submarine?

Thank you, son.


What about that oil pump?

Well, I put in four requisitions.

Did you put stamp them urgent?

- I put a requisition in for one, sir.

For what?

- An urgent stamp, we haven't got one.

Haven't we received anything

from supplies?

The only requisition

that's been filled

is the requisition

for more requisition paper.

Captain, I got the trim pump broken

down. Want to look at it?

Rate this script:4.0 / 1 vote

Stanley Shapiro

Stanley Shapiro (July 16, 1925 – July 21, 1990) was an American screenwriter and producer responsible for three of Doris Day's most successful films. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Shapiro earned his first screen credit for South Sea Woman in 1953. His work for Day earned him Oscar nominations for Lover Come Back and That Touch of Mink and a win for Pillow Talk, and Mink won him the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Comedy. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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