Published on July 2, 2016
McHale’s Navy is a 1964 technicolor movie based on the 1962–1966 black and white television sitcom McHale’s Navy starring a slimmed down Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway and Joe Flynn, which had in turn originated with a one-hour anthology drama starring Borgnine entitled Seven Against the Sea. The movie version was directed by series producer Edward J. Montagne and its supporting cast includes Carl Ballantine, Gavin MacLeod, Jean Willes, Claudine Longet, and George Kennedy. The movie was followed by a sequel entitled McHale’s Navy Joins the Air Force which did not feature Borgnine or Carl Ballantine. Another film, also called McHale’s Navy, was released in 1997 with a completely different plot and an entirely different cast except for Borgnine playing a 35-year-older McHale.
In nearly everyway the 1964 movie is merely an extension of the TV series and allows fans of the TV series to see the show in vibrant color. Even the film location for New Caledonia is identical to the one used in the series. For more information on the main characters see the TV series McHale’s Navy. The movie was released on DVD for Region 1 on January 31, 2011.
The film was released following the end of the second season of the television series.
Set “Somewhere in the South Pacific”, Gruber’s gambling scheme backfires when he tries to raise lots of money for St Theresa’s Orphanage through off-track horserace betting. Heavy bets on the horse “Silver Spot” leaves the crew owing a large sum to sailors and marines. A little while later when the crew is in New Caledonia and after Ensign Parker is kissed by Andrea Bouchard (Claudine Longet) the lightheaded Parker accidentally sets off a depth charge and destroys the dock and cargo of businessman Henri Le Clerc (George Kennedy), leaving the crew even more in debt. However, while on a reconnaissance mission to an island the crew comes across Silver Spot who was lost on the island after the horse was being moved from Australia. They decide to enter Silver Spot in a race in New Caledonia to win enough money to pay all their debts. Otherwise the only way to pay all their debts is for McHale to marry his old flame Margot Monet (Jean Willes) who owns a gambling parlor in New Caledonia (but who McHale would rather not marry). They try to disguise the horse with lots of heavy hair, but when the hair starts to come off during the race they decide to use a smoke screen from the 73 to keep anyone from seeing too much. However, this made it impossible for the racetrack authorities to know who won. But the smokescreen also caused a Japanese submarine to be captured by the 73. In the end Le Clerc is so grateful for saving his town from a Japanese attack he forgives the debt. The crew also gets a reward for rescuing Silver Spot which just happened to be enough to pay the sailors and marines. While all this was going on the Pt-73 crew was dogging Binghamton (Joe Flynn) and his aide Carpenter (Bob Hastings). And just as they were leaving New Caledonia the bashful Parker is kissed by Bouchard and again the lightheaded Parker sets off another depth charge which destroys Le Clerc’s dock and cargo again. But rather than marry Monet to pay for the new damage, McHale and crew immediately scramble to get out of New Caledonia.