Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Norman Tokar|
|Produced by||Ron Miller|
|Written by||Marty Roth (story)
|Music by||Bruce Belland
Robert F. Brunner
|Edited by||Cotton Warburton|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|July 1, 1970|
The Boatniks is a 1970 American comedy film starring Robert Morse, Stefanie Powers, Don Ameche and Phil Silvers. It was made by Walt Disney Productions, released by Buena Vista Distribution and directed by Norman Tokar.
Young and awkward, Coast Guard Ensign Thomas Garland (Morse) suffers from the comparison with his late father, a war hero, which does not prevent him from falling for pretty Kate Fairchild (Powers), a young woman who runs a sailing school. Of course the way he expresses his deep feelings for the lady leaves much to be desired, and the situation does not improve when a trio of bumbling jewel thieves interferes.
The film opens with U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Jordan (Joey Forman) responding to a number of pleas for help from civilian pleasure boat sailors off the coast of Southern California. This is the type of event that the Coast Guard has to put up with on a regular basis, and it is one of the reasons why Jordan has requested to transfer to a new station. He is handing over the reins to Ensign Tom Garland (Robert Morse), a polite but remarkably clumsy fellow who will now report to Commander Taylor (Don Ameche), a man who fought in World War II with Garland's father and holds him in high regard.
Through a series of events, we see Garland's ineptitude as the station's new skipper. He repeatedly flounders in tending to the various minor issues plaguing the crowded waters' impatient travelers. It also doesn't take long for him to set his eyes on Kate Fairchild (Stefanie Powers), a "girl next door" type who runs a local boat rental and sailing school spot on the coast.
Meanwhile, three jewel thieves are making their way to Mexico while listening to reports of their pursuit. There's ringleader Harry Simmons (Phil Silvers) who poses as a yacht club "commodore" and dispatches orders to his two associates, Charlie (Mickey Shaughnessy) and Max (Norman Fell). This trio has managed to steal a jewel collection, and they intend to smuggle them inside an assortment of casually hollowed food. They decide to rent a boat from Kate to make their way south of the border, although none of the three know how to sail.
The Boatniks follows Tom's nautical misadventures and romance, while at the same time following the attempts of the jewel thieves to escape to Mexico. With Kate's suggestion that the crooks' suspicious behavior might indicate criminality, she and Tom begin to suspect that they are indeed the three men reported about in a newspaper article. Tom is right about the suspects, but Commander Taylor doesn't initially believe it. Ultimately, Garland is able to convince Taylor, retrieve the stolen jewels, and ensure that the jewel thieves are arrested.
The Boatniks was released on July 1, 1970 and re-released theatrically on June 10, 1977. It was released twice on VHS in November 1983 and March 18, 1997 and DVD on August 2, 2005.
In 1970 the film earned an estimated $5 million in North American rentals.
- Box Office Information for The Boatniks. The Numbers. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- "Big Rental Films of 1970", Variety, 6 January 1971 p 11
- Official website
- The Boatniks at the Internet Movie Database
- The Boatniks at the TCM Movie Database
- The Boatniks at AllMovie