Doctor at Sea (1955): Ralph Thomas Comedy, Starring Dirk Bogarde and Brigitte Bardot

From Our Vaults:

Ralph Thomas directed Doctor at Sea, a British comedy based on Richard Gordon’s 1953 novel of the same name.

This was the second of 7 films in the Doctor series, following the hugely popular Doctor in the House the previous year.

Once again, Richard Gordon participated in the screenwriting, together with Nicholas Phipps and Jack Davies, and once again Dirk Bogarde played the lead character Dr Simon Sparrow.

The film co-stars French sex symbol Brigitte Bardot in her first English-speaking film.

The cast also includes James Robertson Justice and Joan Sims from the first film, but this time playing different characters.

To escape his employers’ daughter, who has amorous designs on him, Dr. Simon Sparrow (Bogarde) signs on as medical officer on a cargo ship, “SS Lotus.”

The ship’s commander is the hot-tempered and authoritarian Captain Wentworth Hogg (James Robertson Justice).

After overcoming initial seasickness, Sparrow settles into life on board. After arriving in a Brazilian port (a local woman demands two hundred cruzeiros from Sparrow), he meets Hélène Colbert (Bardot), a French woman who is a nightclub singer.

Captain Hogg is ordered to take on two female passengers, Muriel Mallet (De Banzie), the daughter of the chairman of the shipping company, and her friend Hélène for the return trip.

The unmarried Hogg is pursued by Muriel, who promises him promotion to the rank of commodore if he were to marry her.

Romance blossoms between Sparrow and Hélène, but she declines his tentative proposal. However, Sparrow finds out that she has received a telegram offering her a job in Rio de Janeiro, which he had told her is the next destination for his ship.

The film ends happily with the couple embracing.

Doctor at Sea was the third most popular movie at the British box office in 1955, after The Dam Busters and White Christmas.


Dirk Bogarde as Dr. Simon Sparrow
James Robertson Justice as Captain Hogg
Brenda De Banzie as Muriel Mallet
Brigitte Bardot as Hélène Colbert
Maurice Denham as Steward Easter
Michael Medwin as Third Officer Trail
Hubert Gregg as Second Officer Archer
James Kenney as Fellowes
Raymond Huntley as Capt. Beamish
Geoffrey Keen as Chief Officer Hornbeam
George Coulouris as Ship’s Carpenter
Noel Purcell as Corbie
Jill Adams as Jill
Joan Sims as Wendy
Cyril Chamberlain as Whimble
Toke Townley as Jenkins
Thomas Heathcote as Wilson
Eugene Deckers as Chief of Police
Michael Shepley as Jill’s father
Felix Felton as Dr George Thomas