Don’t Go Near the Water (1957): Service Comedy, Starring Glenn Ford and Gia Scala

Don’t Go Near the Water, a screen adaptation of William Brinkley’s 1956 novel of the same name, stars Glenn Ford and Gia Scala.

This is one of several service comedies Glenn Ford made after the huge success of The Teahouse of the August Moon, in which he starred opposite Brando.

Lieutenant (j.g.) Max Siegel (Ford) and other US Navy personnel are stuck in a public relations unit far from the fighting. Lieutenant Commander Clinton T. Nash (Fred Clark), their commanding officer and a stockbroker in civilian life, refuses to allow anyone to transfer out.

Much of Siegel’s time is spent showing war correspondents (like obnoxious Gordon Ripwell (Keenan Wynn)) and visiting Congressmen around the island.

When Siegel spots beautiful local schoolteacher Melora Alba (Gia Scala), he begins to court her. However, they break up when he wants to live in New York for his career, while she is needed on the island.

Siegel’s yeoman, Adam Garrett (Earl Holliman), falls in love with Navy nurse Alice Tomlen (Anne Francis), which is serious breach of Navy regulations, as Tomlen is an officer while Garrett is an enlisted man.

However, Siegel pretends to be dating her himself in order to give Garrett the opportunity to spend time with her. This couple also fall in love. When Nash finds out, Siegel suggests a fitting punishment would be a transfer to a fighting unit.

Nash then comes up with the idea to send an ordinary sailor on morale-boosting tour, and chooses Farragut Jones (Mickey Shaughnessy). But Jones turns out to be foul-mouthed and heavily tattooed, not exactly what Nash had hoped for.

When Siegel has to escort another war correspondent, the sexy blonde Deborah Aldrich (Eva Gabor), she makes her way aboard a heavy cruiser on its way to a combat operation, to Admiral Junius Boatwright’s (Howard Smith) disapproval

At the end of the war, Siegel realizes he cannot live without Melora, and decides to remain on the island.