The Captain's Table (1959) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
4 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Good fun, but hardly a classic Richard Gordon adaptation
tigon23 August 2000
Silly comedy based on author Richard Gordon's first book. Gordon is best known as the creator of the 'Doctor' novels, some of which were successfully filmed for the big screen between 1954 and 1970, as well as spawning a seventies TV sitcom. 'The Captain's Table' is very much in the same style: a few near-the-knuckle gags, lots of pretty bikini-clad girls and a veritable host of old English stereotypes.

Naughty vicars, camp stewards, sexy popsies and batty old ladies abound, but despite a super cast of comedy legends like Donald Sinden, Richard Wattis, John LeMesurier and Miles Malleson, the movie lacks any real fizz and fails to be even half as funny as its 'Doctor' cousins. Lead actor John Gregson is no match for Dirk Bogarde or Leslie Phillips, but Carry On star Joan Sims enlivens the proceedings with a cute cameo as a frumpy spinster.

Worth a look, but don't expect too many hearty laughs.
13 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Tired comedy
malcolmgsw31 March 2016
This film has a great cast which is totally wasted on this unimaginative load of clichés.Most of the scenes in this film have been done so much better in other films.The jokes such as they are are so old that they have whiskers on.The crew constantly on the fiddle.Ronnie Shiner was rather better at this than Richard Wattis.Donald Sinden being asked to do his unfunny woman chaser from the Doctor series.John Gregson then at the hight of his stardom playing a rookie cruise Captain and Peggy Cummins with her designs on him.That marvellous actor Reginald Beckwith almost stealing the film.However the Big problem with this film is that is just not funny.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
My 390th Review: Passable stock 50s comedy - but one that shows a change in British Cinema
intelearts21 March 2011
Like many of its ilk Captain's Table looks like a very typical British 50s comedy and while good fun it's certainly no classic. It's very reminiscent of the Love Boat TV series with a cast of Britain's best it should shine - but it's all just for laughs. From a running jokes about Bridge players, to Donald Sinden's womaniser, it's all pretty much what you'd expect The women are the stronger characters here, and the plot is all about them trying to land the new captain. Fun but hardly original.

However, and it's a huge however, it is one of a handful of films that should be watched as being one of the better examples of the transition in British Cinema from social comedies to the more bawdy comedy of Carry On. You can actually see right up on screen the change coming and the difference between Genevieve, School For Scoundrels, Passport to Pimlico, and the Carry On films. The comedy is not Carry On saucy yet, but sex is a real theme throughout. No one foot on the floor cinema here. No coyness. There are bikinis everywhere and while not saucy it ain't coy either. Something happens in cinema around the Bikini Atoll, 1957, where the Big Bang suddenly does seem to liberate its own double entendre.

The whole of Captain's Table has characters that will become stock in the 1960s, a very camp batman, which Kenneth Williams will make his stock and trade, at the beginning of the film we have a seaman who could be Sid James, and throughout there are touches and ideas that Carry On will take and fly with.

If British Comedy from the 1950s is about class: either upper twits at play or working class succeeding despite authorities, then 1960s is about the triumph of the working man finding status and financial freedom. Captain's Table straddles both these with lots of upper-class twits (the Army Captain in particular) and a more blatant approach.

The film itself is lightweight fluff and fun because of it, but as a record of the changing point in British cinema it holds a place.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A sad waste of talented players!
JohnHowardReid25 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Producer: Joseph Janni. Executive producer: Earl St John. A Joseph Janni-Jack Lee Production, made at Pinewood Studios, and with the co-operation of the Orient Line. Presented by the J. Arthur Rank Organisation.

Copyright 1960 by J. Arthur Rank Film Productions, Ltd. U.S. release through 20th Century-Fox: September 1960. New York opening at the 68th St Playhouse: 26 September 1960. U.K. release through Rank Film Distributors: 1 February 1959. Australian release through British Empire Films: 3 July 1959. Sydney opening at the State. 8,010 feet. 89 minutes. (Available on a very good Spirit Entertainment DVD).

SYNOPSIS: The Captain of a rust-bucket tramp steamer is put in charge of a passenger liner.

VIEWER'S GUIDE: A smutty "comedy", unsuitable for all.

COMMENT: An inept slapstick farce, crude, witless and without any redeeming features save for the sterling efforts of a hardworking cast.

OTHER VIEWS: "The Captain's Table" offers a promising menu, but a meager meal. — Eugene Archer in The New York Times.

Lots of the humor is slapstick, and most of the comic situations are mined to the very end of the lode. Only rarely does someone climb a ship's ladder without missing a step. — Joseph Morgenstern in The New York Herald Tribune.

A sad waste of talented players like John Gregson, Peggy Cummins and the attractively photographed and costumed Nadia Gray. The script is as barren of genuinely comic ideas as Jack Lee's direction is devoid of even routine competence and flair. — J.H.R. in Photoplayer.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed