The Lady Takes a Sailor

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The Lady Takes a Sailor
The Lady Takes a Sailor poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Produced by Harry Kurnitz
Written by Jerry Gruskin story
Everett Freeman screenplay
Starring Jane Wyman
Eve Arden
Dennis Morgan
Robert Douglas
Allyn Joslyn
Jack Lemmon
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Ted D. McCord
Edited by David Weisbart
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • December 16, 1949 (1949-12-16)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Lady Takes a Sailor is a 1949 comedy film starring Jane Wyman, Eve Arden and Dennis Morgan.


Trustworthy head of the Buyer's Research Institute, Jennifer Smith (Jane Wyman), is in need of additional funding to keep the institute running. It turns out the Tyson Institute is prepared to offer her the funds, and Jennifer can exhale. She celebrates the success with her friend and business partner Susan Wayne (Eve Arden), with whom she runs a cosmetics company, by going to Susan's beautiful beach house on Long Island. When Jennifer is out sailing, a storm hits before she can return to shore, and her boat is flipped up-side down by an underwater vehicle, operated by a man who goes by the name of Davy Jones (Dennis Morgan). Davy claims to be a zoologist, studying the wildlife under the sea surface, and he reluctantly rescues Jennifer by taking her aboard his vehicle. Jennifer suspects that the man isn't who he says he is, since he doesn't seem to know the first thing about marine life. Davy finally agrees to put Jennifer ashore, but after he has given her sleeping pills. Once the storm has ended, Davy drops her body on the beach, where she is found by Susan and the Coast Guard, who have been searching for her like crazy. Susan thinks Jennifer has dreamt her encounter with Davy, and dismisses her story about the underwater vehicle. Jennifer tries to prove she isn't crazy, pulling up the pictures of the vehicle from her camera, but the film seems to be missing. The word of Jennifer's story and probable insanity reaches the Tyson Institute, and they withdraw their offer of funding. Outraged, Jennifer decides to prove them wrong and that Davy and the underwater vehicle really exists. She goes on a search for Davy to restore her credibility and get the funds she has been promised.

What Jennifer doesn't know is that Davy's real name is Bill Craig, and that he in fact is a submarine engineer undertaking a secret government mission. When out one night at a club with her fiancé Ralph Whitcomb (Allyn Joslyn), Jennifer spots a woman whose picture were in the underwater vehicle. The woman is a singer named Raquel Riviera (Lina Romay), but she denies knowing a Davy Jones. A while later though, Davy/Bill enters the club himself, and Jennifer confronts him, asking for her camera film back. Bill claims she must be mistaken, and he and Raquel leave the club. Determined to find out the truth, Jennifer and Ralph follow the couple, and when they leave their car for a while, Jennifer breaks into it and looks for some kind of identification and her film roll. She doesn't find anything and has to interrupt her search when the couple comes back. Jennifer hires a private detective by the name of Henry Duckworth to help her, but Bill discovers Henry when staking him out. Bill traps Henry when he and Jennifer are trying to break into the safe in his apartment, and while Henry escapes from the scene, Jennifer stays and hears Bill's explanation. He tries to tell her as much as he can, without revealing top secret information, but before Jennifer leaves the apartment, she finds and takes back her film roll. Jennifer is then supposed to meet Susan, Henry and a representative for the Tyson Institute, to clear her name and get her funding, but Bill manages to follow her to the place of the meeting. Bill tries to take back the film several times, and the meeting is not very successful, as the representative ultimately believes that Jennifer indeed is quite insane because of her strange behavior. Bill finally gets the film back from Jennifer and runs away in Henry's car, but he accidentally crashes into the Tyson representative car. Both men return to the meeting, and Bill is asked to his face if Jennifer's story is true. Since Jennifer at this point has fallen in love with Bill, she covers for him and tells everyone she made it up. She is fired from the institute, and instead begins a new life with Bill.[1]


This was Jack Lemmon's (uncredited) film debut - as a plasterer/painter at the end of the film.


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