The Luck of the Navy (1938) (aka: North Sea Patrol) Movie Review

The Luck of the Navy (1938)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Geoffrey Toone in The Luck of the Navy (1938) (aka: North Sea Patrol)

Cocktails & Conflict

In the town of Dunport, Admiral Maybridge (Edmund Breon) is leading the local children and his staff in gas mask drills in case war breaks out and he is sure the enemy will be in for a big surprise when they see the size of the air force. Meanwhile Commander Clive Stanton (Geoffrey Toone) and his men are waiting aboard their ship waiting for imminent news with those in positions of authority keeping up the standards of society whilst the men below enjoying the camaraderie. Called ashore Commander Stanton is given information about a planned attack and is given the envelope containing his orders which are to be opened if war breaks out. Trouble is that the enemy already has spies at work trying to get their hands on that information.

One of the greatest difficulties for me is reviewing those old movies from around the Second World War not only because I wasn't born then but because times are very different. If you think about now we have the papers, TV, radio and of course the internet giving us so much information that some times you wonder how those in charge ever manage to keep secrets from the general public. Yet when you think back to 1938 when this movie, "The Luck of the Navy", was made I imagine the public was less in the know and as such would feed off of this sort of movie. As such it may seem a bit ridiculous watching it now but I reckon "The Luck of the Navy" would have succeeded in doing what was intended on that release.

Judy Kelly in The Luck of the Navy (1938) (aka: North Sea Patrol)

So what was intended? Well a bit of everything as we have elements of encouragement as we are told that those in power have a plan and that the enemy will probably back down when they see the might of the armed forces. We also have the young encouraged to prepare to do their duty and that includes making sure you can put on a gas mask properly. We then have scenes aboard a naval ship where the commander and his men all live to a certain standard of social class whilst the less refined sailors are happy with their lot below deck. But on top of that we get elements of enemy spies with those who are respected parts of society might not be as trust worthy as we think. It has a bit of everything to make it more of an informative, encouraging war movie rather than an entertaining one. And it also has that classic mix of drama, danger and some humour although of course compared to these days all of it feels a little tame.

What this all boils down to is that "The Luck of the Navy" is an interesting snapshot of what sort of movie was being made to keep morale high as the threat of war breaking out was looming large. But that does mean that unless you watch this with an interest in what sort of movies were being made to boost morale you are likely to find it disappointing and not an exciting war drama.