In his early days as a saintly college boy, a mythological All-American, too full of his own goodness to be true, Pat Boone presented an easy target for the vitriol of critics. Things reached a peak when Pat refused to kiss on screen.
But in All Hands On Deck, Pat is cast as over-amorous bachelor naval officer, Lieutenant Victor ‘Vic’ Donald. And within minutes of meeting reporter Sally Hobson (Barbara Eden), Pat has her manoeuvred on to the Bridge, locked in the steering cabin, and looks all set to start some serious clinching straight away.
It follows, then, that All Hands On Deck can be considered as Pat Boone’s best film to date, and the start of an encouraging trend.
The film is a comedy, a light, frothy piece that keeps a steady tempo all the way through.
The action centres around Shrieking Eagle Garfield (Buddy Hackett), a Chickasaw Indian sailor who keeps a turkey called Owasso as a pet (it was meant to be for Thanksgiving but he couldn’t bring himself to kill it). He is completely incompetent at his job but his oil-rich family pay enough income tax to keep half the American fleet afloat.
Meanwhile, the ship’s captain, Commander O’Gara (Dennis O’Keefe) is intent on retiring with a clean record and fishing for the remainder of his life.
The supporting cast is first-rate, particularly Warren Berlinger’s green ensign and Pat McCaffrie’s lively ship’s cook. Gale Gordon also shows up as the admiral determined to fail Commander O’Gara in a surprise inspection.
Ann B. Davis gets plenty of Eve Arden-style funny lines as the advice columnist at the newspaper where Eden works (a decade before becoming Alice in The Brady Bunch).
Pat sings four good songs in the film, all composed by Ray Evans and Jay Livingstone, a well-known screen songwriting duo. Their material here is well up to standard, particularly an up-tempo I’ve Got It Made which features Pat in a Sinatra-ish mood. Others are All Hands On Deck (the title tune) and two ballads; Somewhere There’s Home and You Mean Everything To Me.
Pat Boone clearly made money for 20th Century Fox. He probably made a lot
more with All Hands On Deck.
Lt. Victor ‘Vic’ Donald
Shrieking Eagle Garfield
Lt. Cmdr. Brian O’Gara
Ensign Rudy Rush
Rear Admiral Bintle
Joe E. Ross
Lt. Cmdr. Anthony
Paul von Schreiber
Ann B. Davis
Lt. (j.g.) Schuyler