We Joined the Navy (1962)


We Joined the Navy Storyline

This is the story of the riotous, romantic, exciting, astonishing and highly entertaining adventures of Lieutenant Commander “Bodger” Badger, R.N. (Kenneth More). An exceptionally likeable fellow, the Badger has one besetting sin, a shining honesty.

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We Joined the Navy Movie Reviews


A comedy of navel mishaps on shore and the high seas, with a motely crew of comedy characters in likely and unlikely situations.

Personally the most unlikely is Esma Cannon as the Consul’s wife, unlikely because of her accent. I am at a complete loss as to what nationality her character is supposed to be, suffice to say that it wouldn’t happen today. On her Filmography I was surprised to see that she is Australian, I was firmly convinced she was British. She is remembered principally for Carry On films, whilst for me it’s for her appearance on one of my favourite TV comedies The Rag Trade.

Another unlikely pairing was Warren Mitchell as honest Marcel a ‘foreign’ barman nationality unknown.

Yet another is the Welsh actor Kenneth Griffith as a ‘foreign’ revolutionary again nationality uncertain.

These are joined by an ensemble of British artists in no particular order, some in cameo roles such that I missed altogether. Andrew Cruickshank (Admiral Filmer) that I remember as Dr. Cameron in the original Doctor Finlay’s Casebook.

Derek Fowlds (Midshipman Carson) I recall him in the TV Comedy Yes Minister, as the Minister’s private secretary Bernard Wooley.

Graham Crowden (cameo navel officer) I know as Tom Ballard in TV Comedy Waiting for God.

Brian Wilde (cameo Gibbons police officer) TV comedies, Porridge as Mr. Barrowclough Prison Officer. And Last of the Summer Wine as Foggy Dewhurst.

Rodney Bewes (cameo Recruitment interview) TV Comedy Likely Lads and Whatever Happened To the Likely Lads as Bob Ferris.

Dirk Bogarde cameo as Doctor Simon Sparrow, the same character he played in the ‘Doctor’ series of films.

Sid James in this film (cameo as navy dance instructor). From South Africa he was an accomplished journeyman character actor, for around 30 years. From his first film role 1947 as Eddie Clinton in Black Memory. Through to 1976 TV Comedy as Sid Abbot in Bless This House. Sid James achieved fame through his partnership with Tony Hancock, on radio from 1954 and TV from 1956, Comedy show Hancock’s Half Hour. His film career covers a rich variety including 1951 Lackery in the Lavender Hill Mob, 1953 Hawkins in the Titfield Thunderbolt. The first Carry on Film Carry on Constable as Sergeant Frank Wilkins, to the last 1975 Carry on Laughing as numerous parts.

Mr K.More shines in a broad adaptation of an amusing novel.

The story of a class of Dartmouth cadets (or “Beatties) which is a rather superior kind of “Carry on Lieutenant Commander” with an outstanding cast of British actors doing what they do best. All but forgotten,”We joined the navy” fits comfortably into the middle – class comedy mould with the odd poignant moment. As one might expect,Mr Kenneth More is as a duck to water in the role of Lt.Cdr. Badger (The Artful Bodger),mentor of these wannabe naval officers.Other Wardroom and Lower Deck roles are filled by all our favourite character actors,those who make us smile as soon as they show their faces.A matter of slight concern is the Bodger’s transfer to the U.S. Navy which has no relevance to Mr Winton’s novel,but does not detract from the enjoyment of the earlier part of the movie.Not a success at the time of its release despite the talents involved,”We joined the navy” is well made and funny.As a committed admirer of Mr More I endorse this movie as one of the best and least known of his “middle – period” roles. If it ever comes your way in any medium I strongly recommend that you watch it.

Superb cast

WE JOINED THE NAVY is a British comedy once again centred around naval fun and sailor-based humour. It’s much bigger budgeted than the UP THE CREEK films that Hammer made in the late ’50s, but it’s nowhere near as funny. The story, about young naval recruits getting involved in international hijinks, feels quite bloated and is episodic at best. The jokes come at the expense of the characters but aren’t particularly amusing, more tired and familiar. What this film does boast is an extraordinary cast of both reliable old timers (hello, Kenneth More) and amusing newcomers (such as Derek Fowlds and Jeremy Lloyd). It’s great watching for the endless cameos, but as a comedy it doesn’t particularly make you laugh.