Doctor at Sea (film)

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Doctor at Sea
Doctor at Sea orig UK poster.jpg
Original British 1955 quad film poster
Directed by Ralph Thomas
Produced by Betty E. Box
Screenplay by Nicholas Phipps
Richard Gordon
Jack Davies
Based on Doctor at Sea
by Richard Gordon
Starring Dirk Bogarde
Brigitte Bardot
James Robertson Justice
Brenda De Banzie
Joan Sims
Music by Bruce Montgomery
Cinematography Ernest Steward
Edited by Frederick Wilson
Group Film Productions
Distributed by Rank Film Distributors (UK)
Republic Pictures (US)
Release date
  • 12 July 1955 (1955-07-12)(UK)
  • 23 February 1956 (1956-02-23)(US)
Running time
93 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Box office1,111,404 admissions (France) [1]

Doctor at Sea is a 1955 British comedy film, directed by Ralph Thomas, produced by Betty E. Box, and based on Richard Gordon's 1953 novel of the same name. This was the second of seven films in the Doctor series, following the hugely popular Doctor in the House from 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 cast also includes James Robertson Justice and Joan Sims from the first film, but this time playing different characters. This was Brigitte Bardot's first English-speaking film.



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 is commanded by hot-tempered and authoritarian Captain Wentworth Hogg.

Dr. Sparrow overcomes initial seasickness and settles into life on board. After arriving in a Brazilian port (a local woman demands two hundred cruzeiros from Dr. Sparrow), Sparrow meets Hélène Colbert (Bardot), a young 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, having her father's ear, promises him almost certain promotion to the rank of Commodore within the company if he were to marry her.

Romance blossoms between Simon and Hélène, but she declines his tentative marriage proposal. However, as they reach home port, Sparrow finds out that Hélène has received a telegram offering her a job in Rio de Janeiro, which he had told her is the destination for Sparrow's ship on its next trip. The film ends as they embrace and kiss.

Main cast


The film was the 3rd most popular movie at the British box office in 1955, after The Dam Busters and White Christmas . [2] [3]

Thomas claimed in 1956 it made half a million pounds profit. [4]


Variety accused Rank studios of playing safe, writing that "Doctor at Sea does not rise to the same laugh-provoking heights as its predecessor"; [5] while the Radio Times also found it "short on truly comic incident, and the shipboard location is limiting"; [6] but Allmovie wrote "Often funnier than its predecessor, Doctor at Sea proved the viability of the "Doctor" series." [7]



This was the second installment of the Doctor series of films, with Bogarde featuring in the first three.

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  1. Box office information for film at Box Office Story
  2. "'The Dam Busters'." Times [London, England] 29 Dec. 1955: 12. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.
  3. Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32 no. 3. p. 259.
  4. "Overseas movie gossip". The Australian Women's Weekly . 24 (26). Australia. 28 November 1956. p. 79. Retrieved 24 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "Doctor at Sea". Variety. January 1, 1955.
  6. "Doctor at Sea – review | cast and crew, movie star rating and where to watch film on TV and online". Radio Times.
  7. "Doctor at Sea (1955) - Ralph Thomas | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related | AllMovie" via
  8. "BAFTA Awards".