The Lieutenant Wore Skirts

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The Lieutenant Wore Skirts
The Lieutenant Wore Skirts.jpg
Directed by Frank Tashlin
Produced by Buddy Adler
Written by Albert Beich
Frank Tashlin
Starring Tom Ewell
Sheree North
Rita Moreno
Music by Cyril J. Mockridge
Cinematography Leo Tover
Edited by James B. Clark
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Release dates
January 11, 1956
Running time
99 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $970,000[1]
Box office $2,250,000 (US)[2]

The Lieutenant Wore Skirts is a 1956 film directed by Frank Tashlin. The feature starred Tom Ewell, Sheree North, and Rita Moreno. It is a comedy about a man whose marriage begins to fail when his wife gets drafted.


TV writer Greg Whitcomb did his military service heroically but now has settled into everyday life with a young wife, Katy. A letter from the war department arrives that Katy believes is calling Greg back to active duty from the Air Force reserve, but she hides it during a party celebrating their wedding anniversary.

A captain attending the party, Barney Sloan, casually calls Greg an "old-timer," offending him. Greg gets drunk and passes out. His pride stung, Greg is willing to return to duty once he learns of the letter, so Katy, a former Air Force officer herself, decides to re-enlist so they can stay together.

Trouble is, Greg flunks his physical exam due to a bad knee. Katy is shipped to a base in Hawaii without him. Female neighbors keep suggesting Katy will be lonely and surrounded by handsome servicemen, so Greg flies to Honolulu to join her. He ends up spending hours with the wives, a situation their husbands don't appreciate.

Greg decides to sabotage Katy's career so she can get a discharge. His stunt backfires, but because Greg's knee has healed, he is now called back to duty. Which would be fine, except Katy now needs to be honorably discharged and sent home because she is pregnant.



This film was made at the height of Sheree North's popularity; the studio (20th Century Fox) had plans to promote the starlet as an alternative to Marilyn Monroe. North had replaced Monroe in How to Be Very, Very Popular in 1955, which co-starred Betty Grable. North had also appeared on a few television series like Shower of Stars and What's My Line?

Despite being badly criticized, including being called "worthless", with "awful" acting, The Lieutenant Wore Skirts was a major box-office success, ranking as the 13th-highest grossing film of the year. Today the film is known as North's biggest release.

Producer Buddy Adler had just taken over as head of production at 20th Century Fox and had a deal to produce his own pictures, of which The Lieutenant Wore Skirts was the first.[3]

The role of Sandra was first intended for African-American actress Dorothy Dandridge, who became a superstar by starring in 1954's Carmen Jones. Dandridge, however, declined the role of Sandra claiming it was too small and that she was not top billed. Thereupon Rita Moreno, a Puerto Rican, stepped in as her replacement.


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p250
  2. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957
  3. ^ "The Lieutenant Wore Skirts". Retrieved 2014-06-01. 

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