Romance on the High Seas(released June/48)is an average film with an above average cast,that should have been much better than it was.Much of the failure has to do with the less than stellar script,but one cannot say the cast didn't give it the old college try.We have on tap Warner's great cast of character actors such as Jack Carson,S.Z.Sakall(one of my all time faves),Franklin Pangborn and the wonderful Eric Blore(the foil in many of the Astaire/Rogers films at RKO).Also on hand is pianist supremo Oscar Levant,in an uncredited role as a ships radioman Grady Sutton and of course we have singer,now actress,in her first movie role,Doris Day.And she acquits herself admirably.
The first 30 minutes of the film starts out promisingly as we find suspicious and jealous Janet Paige marrying her beau,a just as suspicious and jealous Don Defore.S.Z.Sakall runs a hugely successful drug company and Defore helps him run it.Three years pass without the two going on any sort of anniversary trip,but Paige is determined they finally do.Paige books a trip to South America but Defore again is forced to cancel.Paige says she is going,but instead sends local club singer Day in her place as her,while Paige stays behind to see what Defore does when she is "away".But Defore,also suspicious,hires private eye Carson to spy on her.The story devolves into the usual line of Carson falling in love with Day,but not being able to do anything about it as she is "married".Eventually Day's boyfriend back in New York,Levant,shows up on board part way through the voyage to throw a monkey wrench into things.Then to top this,due to the "reports"Carson is sending back to Defore,Defore decides to go to Rio too,along with Sakall.The usual mix ups and misunderstandings result until it is all resolved in the end.
While watching Day I couldn't help thinking that Betty Hutton would have been perfect in Day's part and when the scene changed to Rio,I was expecting Carmen Miranda to appear any second.At least SHE would have livened up the considerably dull proceedings(by this time)immensely.Day however did do a good job in her first role,even though her debut song was the forgettable "I Love you,I love you,I love you".One has to wait until almost half way through to hear the gem of the movie,her real life hit "It's Magic".
Technically the print is a very good one.There are a few seconds however when the ships doctor is examining Day,when the colour begins to bleed from both actors bodies.It comes and goes but I don't know whether it was just a film flaw the digital process couldn't quite handle or a momentary failure of the digital process itself.Otherwise the film is crisp and clear.Extras include a wonderful short featuring an audience sing a long with older and newer songs,the trailer and the classic Warner's cartoon "I taw a Putty tat".
All in all just an average film vehicle for Day's first film.She is more than ably supported by a wonderful cast,however the plot is such that it inevitably takes the movie down like the Titanic.Day's hit song "It's Magic" is heard to great effect,it is just too bad the script didn't have any.