How is it possible to misplace a destroyer? That’s the question Lieutenant John Paul Steckler VII (Jerry Lewis) has to answer when he is hauled before an official committee after World War II. But Steckler doesn’t know where the destroyer escort USS Kornblatt is – even though he was the last man who checked it out.
Now a congressional committee headed by Congressman Mandeville (Gale Gordon) won’t appropriate four billion dollars for the US Navy unless the Kornblatt is found.
The hunt for the ship comes at a terrible time for Steckler, who is whisked away to Washington by the Navy from his waiting new bride, Prudence (Diana Spencer) where he is charged with treason and malevolent misappropriation of government property and placed in the charge of shapely Ensign Rita Benson (Dina Merrill) of Naval Intelligence.
Psychoanalysis and a flashback take Steckler back to the end of the war when, as the only Kornblatt officer who hasn’t been discharged, Steckler is placed in command of the ship. The search begins in earnest when he remembers that the ship ended up on a reef shortly after the war.
He was then captured by the Japanese, who thought the war was still in progress. When he was finally released, the vessel had sunk.
An old shipmate (Mickey Shaughnessy) eventually locates the spot where the vessel went down, and physical evidence is produced to the naval authorities (a bell from the Kornblatt). At last, Steckler gets the green light to proceed with his honeymoon.
Jerry Lewis displays the usual type of lunacy demanded by his fans, though he does go a little more romantic in this Hal Wallis production.
Lt. John Paul Steckler VII/John Paul Steckler I/John Paul Steckler IV
Ensign Rita Benson
Prudence Trabert Steckler
Vice-Admiral Philo Tecumesh Bludde
Lt. Commander Farber