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Doctor at Sea (1955) Online

Doctor at Sea (1955) Online
Original Title :
Doctor at Sea
Genre :
Movie / Comedy
Year :
Directror :
Ralph Thomas
Cast :
Dirk Bogarde,Brenda de Banzie,Brigitte Bardot
Writer :
Richard Gordon,Richard Gordon
Type :
Time :
1h 33min
Rating :
Doctor at Sea (1955) Online

With a view to escaping both boredom as a junior G.P. and unwanted womanly advances, young doctor Simon Sparrow becomes a medical officer on "the Lotus", an all-male cargo ship. As soon as he sets foot on board, Simon encounters various eccentric characters (including quick-tempered, authoritarian, whisky- addicted captain Hogg)and gets involved in many an embarrassing situation (including seasickness). In Rio he gets to know Hélène Colbert , a sexy young French singer and falls under her spell. When woman hater Hogg is forced to take on two female characters, Muriel Mallet, the daughter of the shipping company and her friend ... Hélène on his freighter, Simon is delighted!
Cast overview, first billed only:
Dirk Bogarde Dirk Bogarde - Dr. Simon Sparrow
Brenda de Banzie Brenda de Banzie - Muriel Mallet
Brigitte Bardot Brigitte Bardot - Hélène Colbert
James Robertson Justice James Robertson Justice - Capt. Hogg
Maurice Denham Maurice Denham - Easter
Michael Medwin Michael Medwin - Sub-lieutenant Trail
Hubert Gregg Hubert Gregg - Archer
James Kenney James Kenney - Fellowes
Raymond Huntley Raymond Huntley - Capt. Beamish
Geoffrey Keen Geoffrey Keen - Hornbeam
George Coulouris George Coulouris - 'Chippie' the Carpenter
Noel Purcell Noel Purcell - Corbie
Jill Adams Jill Adams - Jill
Joan Sims Joan Sims - Wendy Thomas
Cyril Chamberlain Cyril Chamberlain - Whimble

In the scene where the crew is temporarily in jail, George Coulouris (playing the chippie (carpenter)) starts to sing "When August suns are shining, and August raindrops fall, the owl..." This is the Manchester Grammar School school song. Coulouris was an alumnus of MGS.

Easter reads a Diana Dors 3D book in his bunk. Diana Dors appears (uncredited) in a short speaking role at the evening party on the deck of the ship earlier in the movie. She does not it is Jill Adams.

User reviews

Snake Rocking

Snake Rocking

One year after the highly successful 'Doctor In The House', Bogarde is back as the hapless medic Doctor Simon Sparrow. Unusually, 'St Swithins' is nowhere to be seen, neither are most of the supporting from the first movie. Even the great James Robertson Justice is playing a different character (a 'Doctor' movie without Sir Lancelot? Unthinkable!)

That said, it's pretty much business as usual, as Doctor Sparrow runs away to sea and gets himself involved in several embarrassing situations, while James Robertson Justice roars and blusters as Captain Hogg.

One shapely distraction is none other than Brigitte Bardot, in her first English-speaking role. A shower scene especially raises our hero's temperature!

Veteran actor Maurice Denham makes the most of a supporting role, while familiar British faces fill out the rest of the cast.

While not as good as the first movie, it never outstays it's welcome and is good fun.


2 years out of medical school now, Dr. Simon Sparrow takes a post as a ship's doctor to escape the not-so-good intentions of an amorous female friend. His post is on a cargo ship, so there's no girls aboard! Naturally this all changes when they acquire two female passengers, one being, as it would happen, Miss Bardot. Pretty predictable after that, but there are some good laughs and a lot of fun, though it's not as good as Doctor In The House. The hilarious James Robertson Justice is here again, though in a different role to the last movie, but it's a huge shame that the delightful Muriel Pavlow is missing from the cast! Considering Bogarde ended up with her at the end of the last movie, it's curious where her character seems to have gotten to; she doesn't even garner a mention from him at the start of the film. At least she appears to be in the further sequels.

7/10 - Pavlow over Bardot any day!


An average, very English fifties comedy, set on a freight ship.

Nevertheless this movie offers two outstanding dimensions: the first is leading man Dirk Bogarde, who plays with his usual excellence.

The second is Brigitte Bardot, adding much charm by her English-with-a-French-accent.

By the way, the English film crew did a magnificent job on Brigitte: out of the many thousand of shots spanning her entire career, those from 'Doctor at Sea' are among the very best. For this reason alone it is really worth watching this movie.


The second in the popular British comedy series already shows signs of flagging from the class evident in the original film. For one thing, the change of setting proves a bit of a quandary: it both opens up and cramps the jokes (while generally ship-bound, we do get a stretch on dry land – which sees the hero first involved with a drunken blonde and falling foul of her father and then put to jail for being 'under the influence' himself!).

Incidentally, while Dirk Bogarde reprises his role of Simon Sparrow, both James Robertson Justice and George Coulouris (who were also in DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE [1954]) play new characters here – the former's gruffness, while amusing at first, borders on caricature eventually; similarly, Brenda de Banzie's middle-aged passenger (pampered daughter of the seafaring company's President) is somewhat over bearing, evoking memories of Kay Walsh in an episode from the portmanteau film TRIO (1950). Bogarde's love interest, then, is rather incongruously filled by Brigitte Bardot – who's undeniably attractive but not yet the sex symbol of subsequent repute (although she does get to be seen taking a shower at one point).

Gags and innuendo sometimes approach the broad humor one normally associates with the rival "Carry On" series (which was actually still three years away from its inception) and CARRY ON CRUISING (1962) in particular (both films, in fact, culminated in a party on deck which ends in disaster).


Although Dirk Bogarde at this stage of his career was looking for meatier dramatic roles, like Sean Connery for a time he was cast as the likable if sometimes ineffectual Dr. Simon Sparrow for a series of films of which this is the second one. They were moneymakers for the Rank Organisation to be sure and Bogarde got a lot of popularity from them.

After that first film in which he completes his residency, Dr. Sparrow sets up his practice. But when he's both called on to do the work of his older colleague and resist the amorous advances of his less than tempting daughter, Bogarde decides to get away from it all. What better than to take a birth as a ship's doctor on a cargo freighter that does have some passenger accommodations.

Of course when he gets on the HMS Lotus he finds that it's like he never left the United Kingdom when he discovers that the captain is none other than James Robertson Justice. JRJ played the head of the hospital in the first Dr. Sparrow film and was the bane of Bogarde's existence. He's playing the same kind of tyrannical character in this film as the captain from the Bligh School of Command. Or better yet JRJ is like Captain Morton from Mister Roberts.

The compensation is that on the return voyage Brigitte Bardot is a passenger. But on the voyage going and coming back is the daughter of the ship's owner Brenda DaBanzie and she's setting a romantic cap for for the Captain the kind that Bogarde ran to sea to get away from.

Bogarde is shy and sweet and sometimes ineffectual, but he does come through in several of the crises aboard ship. The film holds up well still for today's audience.
Love Me

Love Me

Dirk Bogarde reprises his role of Dr. Simon Sparrow in "Doctor at Sea," a 1955 film that is the second in the "Doctor" series. James Robertson Justice is on hand in a different role, that if a ship's captain.

Simon, on the run from a friend's daughter who is mad for him, takes a job on a ship where there are no women. He's kept pretty busy with the irascible captain, a member of the crew with the DTs, and other assorted difficulties. While stopped at a port, the ship acquires the owner's daughter (Brenda de Banzie) and a cabaret singer (Brigitte Bardot) - and the ship no longer has no women! This is very light entertainment, with Bardot is as gorgeous as she is adorable with short brown hair, an infectious personality and that stunning figure. Justice gives his usual bombastic, fun performance, and the young Bogarde is very handsome and, while never known for his comedy, handles the fare here well. These Doctor films made him a superstar and the biggest money-maker at Rank for quite a while. He loved working with Bardot.

For some background on Bogarde and how the Doctor films came about, I recommend the John Coldstream bio of Bogarde and/or Dirk Bogarde: Rank Outsider by Sheridan Morley, which makes for very lively, fun reading.


'Doctor at sea' is your average English fifties-comedy, as were turned out by the dozen at the time. Television was hardly around, so on Saturday nights the public crowded into their many local cinema-theaters to watch films like these.

Although overall acting in 'Doctor at sea' is pretty competent, it's clear that this film only escaped a thick layer of dust for one single reason: Brigitte Bardot's participation.

Even stronger than that: Brigitte's picturing in this film surely ranks among the very best in her entire career. More than half a century after its production, one can safely conclude that the British did a great job on her.

That's nearly all there is to say about this light comedy. Apart from Brigitte Bardot, the performance of young Dirk Bogarde as the ship's doctor deserves a mentioning, too.


Fresh from his training and having gotten into women trouble in his dogsbody job as a junior doctor in a surgery, Dr Simon Sparrow runs away to sea, joining a cargo ship as the medical officer. Immediately finding that he is prone to seasickness, Sparrow has to content with all manner of colourful characters – the crew of a cargo ship not being the most stable of places for people to spend their time. Things are rough enough but when they stop in a port for some shore leave, the ship picks up a couple of female passengers – making live on the ship before look calm and peaceful by way of comparison.

Still containing the light farce and japes that the Carry On series still had in the early 1950's, the Doctor series continues with its second entry and just some predictable jokes and plots. Shoehorned out to sea, the narrative mixes some medical joking and a fairly plodding plot about nautical flirting (although never approaching what you could call innuendo). It is good-natured enough but never feels like it gets out of second gear – crawling along without any risk of doing anything that well or ever picking up a bit of speed. Without any laughs or enjoyable sequences the film does just come off as rather bland but I suppose it may still have enough about it to appeal to those just looking for an old film to watch on a wet weekend afternoon.

Bogarde doesn't really help things in my opinion; he is bland himself and he doesn't add anything to the comedy or romantic sides of the material. His support cast aren't much better although Bardot's singsong accent and pretty shape is easy on the eye, meanwhile Justice and Sims are really the only easily well-known faces involved. Overall then a fairly uninteresting film that treads a gentle comic path and rarely does anything that good or that bad – it is all pretty bland and average. Might do for those that like this sort of stuff while having a cup of tea during a wet Sunday afternoon but probably that's about it.


This second installment of the Doctor series with Dirk Bogarde finds the young doctor a bit scared. His new private practice isn't all it's cracked up to be, as his partner makes him do all the work. But this isn't what scares him--it's the partner's unattractive and VERY frisky daughter who won't take no for an answer. In desperation, he signs up as a ship's doctor for a voyage--knowing it's a lot safer to hang out with a lot of butch men. But, oddly, the Captain of the ship turns out to be played by James Robertson Justice--the same guy who plays Bogarde's boss throughout the series! This IS confusing and strange and no mention is made that the two people look exactly like the other (since it is the same actor). What's also unusual is that this 'men's only' boat later turns out to accept some female passengers (much to the Captain's dismay)--one of which is the very young Brigitte Bardot--and is probably the first exposure most in the audience had of this future super-star. Her English was fairly good and she was adorable...but looked way too young for her scenes with Bogarde.

Overall, this film picks up very nicely after the second one--with equally good writing and production values. Unfortunately, the later ones seemed much more forced and silly, so this is the last of the series I heartily endorse as it is well made and enjoyable.

By the way, among the questionable medical practices I saw in this film were hitting a man in the back when he has back trouble and prescribing pretty much as many pills to the Captain as he'd like--and he swallows them by the handful.
just one girl

just one girl

A fairly faithful rendition of Richard Gordon's semi-biographical novel of the same name. The characters are "right", the episodic nature of the story follows, even if loosely, the basic form of the novel. The "south American Port" is an amalgam of Santos and Buenos Aires, and is pretty accurate for those places in the 1950's. The relationships between the officers, crew, and the general milieu is also very accurate. There are some superb scenes, my absolute favourite being the logging (the Merchant Navy version of a disciplinary hearing) which is both accurate and very funny. As many reviewers have already pointed out, it is a cargo ship, not a cruise ship, and the passengers are actually guests of the company. Finally, it is SS Lotus, a merchant vessel, not HMS.


Copyright 1955 by Group Film Productions. Released in the U.S.A. through Republic Pictures Corp. New York opening at the 52nd St Trans-Lux: 29 February 1956. U.S. release: 23 February 1956. U.K. release through Rank Film Distributors: September 1955. Australian release through British Empire Films: 29 December 1955. Sydney opening at the State. 8,370 feet. 93 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: Now a qualified doctor, Simon Sparrow becomes bored with the life of a general practitioner and signs on as ship's doctor on a cargo steamer en route for the tropics. What with one thing - the ferocious Captain Hogg — and another — a luscious passenger Helene Colbert — Simon has a hectic time, culminating in the removal of Hogg's appendix with Helene acting as nurse. Simon, now a hero to the crew, decides to remain a sea-going doctor, but...

NOTES: Second of the seven Doctor films that commenced with Doctor in the House (1954).

Number three attraction at the U.K. box-office for 1955. Only The Dam Busters and White Christmas did better business. Number eighteen of the twenty top films at Australian ticket windows for 1956.

Dirk Bogarde was voted by British exhibitors and cinema owners not only as the number one British star at the U.K. box office, but as number one over all. James Stewart was second.

VIEWER'S GUIDE: Both the British and Australian censors reckon this one is suitable for the whole family. Who am I to argue against the experts?

COMMENT: Not one for Brigitte Bardot fans. In this one Mademoiselle Bardot forsakes her customary, sultry sex vamping in favor of an entirely different — and in my opinion utterly charming - screen persona. She is cute, beguiling, bewitching, doll-like and completely captivating. I love her entrancing accent, her girlish clothes, her dazzling smile, her air of bemused innocence and naivety in which she seems only half aware of her own attraction.

This modest, shy, retiring Bardot is so much more intriguing than the anything-but-subtle, so-called "sex kitten" she enacts in most of her French-language roles. But as I say, her fans will probably not warm to this far less blatant Bardot.

Bardot is the main reason I look at "Doctor At Sea" whenever I get the opportunity. (In fact, I consider this Doctor to be the only one worth seeing). The rest of the players, led by Dirk Bogarde in his lightweight slapstick mode and the physically and verbally overpowering James Robertson Justice (temporarily deserting his customary role of chief surgeon at St. Swithin's) are pretty much par for this course of strong medical slapstick and mild innuendo.


Among all of the film accomplishment of Dirk Bogarde, this one I can readily state is his least convincing. He has played many parts all of which stem from his fabulous ability to act mostly men of authority. In this story he is a new doctor driven to sea due to the unwanted advances of an unattractive daughter of his former employer. Signing on as a Ship's doctor, he realizes it's filled with men who are in their own way trying to escape life's problems. Nevertheless, it's interesting work and he's soon out to sea and away from his own home. That's when he learns of the ship's crew and his ability to sort them out one by one. The Captain (James Robertson Justice) is a tyrant at sea and like the rest of the crew proves to be a complex figure, To complicate things, the ship's owner insists one of his daughters and her companion travel on his ship with the Bachelor Captain. Thus Dirk Bogarde tries to do his best to entertain in more than one way. As a result, the audience is enthralled by him and the rest of the strange crew. However it's an interesting movie and one which generates many smiles. Brigitte Bardot and James Robertson Justice add to the fun. ***


"Doctor in the House" appeared in 1954 and it must have been a success because it begat several sequels. This was the first. It's light hearted throughout, sometimes silly and sometimes amusing. The comedic style fits somewhere between the "Carry On" series and the velvety understatement of the best of the Ealing Comedies, like "The Man in the White Suit."

"Doctor at Sea" has Dirk Bogarde forced to take a position as a doctor on a cruise ship to South America that carries no passengers. It may be economically suicidal but the plot kind of requires it. On the trip, we get to know the various characters of the crew and their malfunctions, major and minor. The ship's carpenter has a fit of the DTs and runs about wailing that he's being followed by various breeds of dogs. It's treated as a joke.

Once in port, the officers and men have an opportunity to get drunk and wind up in jail, an event which is treated as a festival. The ship also picks up two passengers. One is Brenda de Banzie, who sets her cap for the bellowing powerhouse of a skipper, James Robertson Justice, an ill-tempered whale. The other is Brigitte Bardot, barely out of her teens. She and Bogarde get glandular. If the outbound voyage showed us the general milieu, the trip home allows for developing romances and animadversions involving the opposite sex. Bardot is something to behold. She has a chirpy voice and a prancing manner, a la gamin, an Audrey Hepburn with a succulent build. I don't know if anyone remembers any longer the sensation she was to become in the next few years.

Like the "Carry On" series, but unlike the best of Ealing, "Doctor at Sea" is episodic. There's practically nothing to the story itself. The film lurches from one comic scene to the next, jammed with puns and double entendres and sometimes pratfalls. At the climax, Captain Justice gets thoroughly stoned and begins screaming insane orders, and it feels forced.

There are good moments too. Bogarde's predecessor as ship's doctor suffered "a melancholy fate" which no one want so talk about. Finally, Bogarde asks his medical assistant what the previous doctor died from. "Very sad it was. We was in port and he had ideas above his station." "Above his --?" "He tried to walk ashore."