Romance on the High Seas (1948)


(director: Michael Curtiz; screenwriters: story by Carlos Olivari & Sixto Pondal Rios/I.A.L. Diamond/ Julius J. Epstein/Philip G. Epstein; cinematographer: Elwood Bredell; editor: Rudi Fehr; music: Sammy Cahn/Ray Heindorf/Oscar Levant/Jule Styne; cast: Jack Carson (Peter Virgil), Janis Paige (Elvira Kent), Don DeFore (Michael Kent), Doris Day (Georgia Garrett), Oscar Levant (Oscar Farrar), S.Z. Sakall (Uncle Lazlo), Fortunio Bonanova (Plinio), Eric Blore (Ship’s Doctor), Leslie Brooks (Miss Medwick), Franklin Pangborn (Hotel Clerk in Rio); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Alex Gottlieb/Michael Curtiz; Warner Brothers; 1948)

“Lightweight but pleasant musical.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Michael Curtiz directs this lightweight but pleasant musical, set on an ocean voyage, with just enough panache that it doesn’t sink. Noteworthy songs from Sammy Cahn’s lyrics and Jule Styne’s music include “It’s Magic” and “Put ‘Em in a Box.” The only thing memorable is that this is the pic the unknown Doris Day (dropped her real name of Doris Mary Anne von Kappelhoff) made her film debut. Talented screenwriters I. A. L. Diamond, Julius J. Epstein, and Philip G. Epstein adapted the story by Carlos Olivari & Sixto Pondal Rios, but failed to inject much excitement into the silly romance story.

Socialite Elvira Kent (Janis Paige) is disappointed that her industrialist hubby Michael Kent (Don DeFore) can’t go on their luxury cruise to South America because of an upcoming business merger. She suspects her husband of having an affair with the attractive secretary, Miss Medwick (Leslie Brooks), he just hired. Elvira shares her confidences with her beloved but flustered Uncle Lazlo (S.Z. Sakall), founder of the drugstore chain her hubby now runs. She goes with him to hire a struggling nightclub singer, Georgia Garrett (Doris Day), with an unfulfilled wish to travel in style, to pose as her on the cruise.

Elvira moves into a hotel near her hubby’s Manhattan office so she can snoop on him. Meanwhile Michael suspects his wife of possibly fooling around on the voyage and has hired a private detective, Peter Virgil (Jack Carson), to snoop on her at sea. On the ocean liner Peter meets Georgia as Elvira and they fall madly in love with each other, but he can’t act out on his romantic intentions because of his professional integrity. To complicate things further (really to inject some needed wit into this banal sitcom situation) Georgia’s nightclub pianist and rejected wannabe boyfriend, Oscar Farrar (Oscar Levant), flies over to join the liner at a stopover. His presence adds some snappy one-liners to the mix up situation. The confusing situation comes to a head at a stopover in Rio, where all the concerned parties meet.

The film was helped by the likable performances of the stars, and the easy to take story and songs. Busby Berkeley directs a delicious dance routine at the finale. “Romance” made for a painless watch.


REVIEWED ON 10/18/2004 GRADE: C+