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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Operation Petticoat [Blu-ray]


(Blake Edwards, 1959)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Universal International Pictures (UI)

Video: Olive Films



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:00:43.236

Disc Size: 21,853,836,997 bytes

Feature Size: 21,764,222,976 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 1st, 2014



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 828 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 828 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: Rear Admiral Matt Sherman (Cary Grant) visits the submarine Sea Tiger on the morning of its decommissioning and reminisces about his time as the first commander of the boat, in 1941. Three days after Pearl Harbor, the sub is damaged during an enemy air raid in the Philippines; rather than abandoning her, Sherman and his chiefs refloat the boat. He's forced to accept the services of Lt. (jg) Nick Holden (Tony Curtis), who has no sea experience. Sherman appoints Holden -- a born conniver, deal-maker, and scrounger (his motto: "In confusion, there is profit") -- as supply officer, and through a series of burglaries and petty thefts he gets the Sea Tiger seaworthy again. Up to this point, the movie is an increasingly amusing service comedy, akin to the lighter moments of Mr. Roberts, running on Grant's wry exasperation and Curtis's cool arrogance, coupled with Arthur O'Connell's periodic sardonic yet optimistic jabs at their situation and Gavin MacLeod's fidgety nervousness.



The Film:

Directed by Blake Edwards from a screenplay by Stanley Shapiro and Maurice Richlin screenplay, Operation Petticoat (1959) was supposed to be a studio picture costing about a million dollars and shot in black and white. Maurice Richlin explained, "The first choice of romantic comedy writers was Cary Grant. When Cary said yes, the budget jumped to more than three million (a lot in those days) and went into color creating the now famous "pink sub". With a slight touch of anarchy and a complete disregard for authority, Operation Petticoat rates a perfect ten in the genre of service comedies.

Grant plays Admiral Matt Sherman, Commander of the submarine U.S.S. Seat Tiger, which is stationed in the Philippines at the beginning of World War II. Joining him is Nick Holden (Tony Curtis), as his conniving junior officer. The story is narrated by Grant, reading selected logs to us from the U.S.S. Sea Tiger captain's journal, a gimmick that was later used in the TV series, Star Trek.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

After the end of WWII, Adm. Matt Sherman (Cary Grant) reads over his log from the USS Sea Tiger, the submarine he captains. Sherman is about to turn over the command of the sub to Lt. Nick Holden (Tony Curtis), who is assigned to squire it until it is destroyed and replaced by a nuclear vessel. The movie unwinds in flashback as Sherman recalls some of the events in the sub's life--particularly how that life was renewed when he became determined to raise the Sea Tiger in the wake of an attack in Manila Bay. It's December 1941 and, with help from Holden, who secures the supplies and gear to help restore the badly damaged sub, Sherman and his crew take to the waters. Along the way, they are joined by five stranded nurses, a couple of Filipino families, and a goat. The sailors ferry them out of harm's way, especially enjoying the presence of the nurses--a chesty bunch who always seem to be passing the hot young sailors in the sub's very narrow corridors. They also paint the sub pink. There's not much story to speak of, and the jokes are more than a bit sexist, but the gags are bright and Blake Edwards's direction adroit enough to make OPERATION PETTICOAT an enjoyable time. A TV series was later attempted, but never came close to the energy of the movie.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Operation Petticoat has a modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered and there are a few sequences where the black levels look crushed. It can also look a bit dirty and there are a few scratches and speckles. Colors are the most impressive attribute of the 1080P and there is some occasional depth. The black levels seem a shade inconsistent - probably due more to the source than the transfer. It is in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Detail is superior than SD could relate and it the weaknesses tend to look less noticeable in-motion. The Blu-ray video is imperfect but not fatally so - the visuals are less stellar than many might anticipate.
















Audio :

Olive use a DTS-HD Master mono track at a puny 828 kbps. I don't doubt it sounds authentic and some of the, more aggressive, effects (bomb expositions, fire) show a bit of depth. It's the score by David Rose and an uncredited Henry Mancini (Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, Experiment in Terror, Charade), that probably benefits the most from the lossless rendering.  There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the route that Olive are going with most of their releases.



I admit - I wasn't into this at all. I recall trying to get into the DVD of Operation Petticoat with a similar reaction (hence no SD review). I liked Cary Grant as the Rear Admiral - and in a different mood - I would probably find this appealing. The Olive Blu-ray has some inconsistencies and, typical for them, is bare-bones. So... I find this price exorbitant for the value offered. Perhaps 'Blake Edwards' or 'Cary Grant' completists might be the best market. I'm not very enthusiastic. At almost $30, I'd say 'pass'. 

Gary Tooze

June 16th, 2014

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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