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Three Cockeyed Sailors (1940)

Sailors Three (original title)
Passed | | Comedy, War | 4 July 1941 (USA)
Three British sailors find they've accidentally strayed on board a Nazi ship during WWII. They then proceed to take it over and requisition it for the Royal Navy.


Walter Forde


Angus MacPhail (screenplay) (as Angus Macphail), Austin Melford (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tommy Trinder ... Tommy Taylor
Claude Hulbert ... Admiral
Carla Lehmann ... Jane
Michael Wilding ... Johnny
James Hayter ... Hans
Jeanne De Casalis ... Mrs. Pilkington
Henry Hewitt Henry Hewitt ... Prof. Pilkington
Brian Fitzpatrick Brian Fitzpatrick ... Digby
John Laurie ... McNab
Harold Warrender Harold Warrender ... Pilot's Mate
Eric Clavering Eric Clavering ... Bartender
John Glyn-Jones John Glyn-Jones ... Best Man
Julian Vedey Julian Vedey ... Resident of Tangier
John Wengraf ... German Captain (as Hans Wengraf)
Manning Whiley Manning Whiley ... German Commdr.


Three British sailors find they've accidentally strayed on board a Nazi ship during WWII. They then proceed to take it over and requisition it for the Royal Navy. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


BRITAIN'S NEW FILM FUNSTER! (Australian poster - all caps)


Comedy | War


Passed | See all certifications »





English | German | Spanish

Release Date:

4 July 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Cockeyed Sailors See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ealing Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Derek Elphinstone is listed as "Derek Elphinsone" in the opening credits. See more »


Followed by While Nero Fiddled (1944) See more »


All Over The Place
Music by Noel Gay
Lyrics by Frank Eyton
Performed by Tommy Trinder (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

English musical comedy period piece
2 October 2003 | by hazelfreemanSee all my reviews

Proudly billed as a British film, Sailors Three was a brave attempt to emulate successful American light comedy of the 1930's, but the screenplay retains a Britishness that is very powerful, and therefore the film falls between two stools.

Released in 1940 it could hardly avoid a wartime theme, and the three main male characters are Royal Navy Sailors. Tommy Trinder has a couple of songs and there are some references to his music hall persona. While the film was being made, we were still in the phoney war period, and the Germans could still be portrayed as comical buffoons. So when thirty or so German sailors re-board their ship, that the three British sailors have taken over (with the help of an Austrian, played by James Hayter, best known for doing voice-overs for Mr Kipling cakes), no-one produces a firearm, and the brave Brits manage to overpower them one at a time, mostly by knocking them on the head with something; we get a hollow coconut "clop" sound, and that's another enemy sailor hors de combat.

The romantic interest is also played in a rather unreal, stilted way; maybe the need for a U certificate (allowing children to see the film) forced this. Being upper class, Carla (Jane Davies) only toys amusedly with the common sailors' amorous advances on shore. And when she is on the captured German ship, and a British plane is sighted, she exclaims "Oh, how absolutely delightful!"

So on a number of counts, the result is "nice try, but really not quite on the button". Interesting nowadays only as a historical document.

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