The Baby and the Battleship
The Baby and the Battleship is a colour 1956 British comedy film directed by Jay Lewis and starring John Mills, Richard Attenborough and André Morell. It is based on the 1956 novel by Anthony Thorne with a screenplay by Richard De Roy, Gilbert Hackforth-Jones and Bryan Forbes. The Royal Navy provided a large amount of cooperation with sequences filmed aboard HMS Birmingham and in Malta.
When a group of Royal Navy sailors go ashore on leave to Naples they go to visit an old friend who is a baker. He is the father of 12 daughters and, to his great pride and relief, an infant son. So that one of them can take the eldest daughter out that night, they are required to take the son with them to an outdoor dance. 'Puncher' has a reputation for fighting and drinking and despite his best efforts to live up to his pledge to reform his behavior, he is provoked by two sailors from another ship and starts a fight while his friend 'Knocker' is dancing with the eldest daughter. During the brawl, Puncher Roberts is knocked unconscious while Knocker and the sister run away on the arrival of police, abandoning the baby in the square. Puncher regains consciousness and finds the square empty, except for the baby. Unable to find his friend Knocker, or the child's adult sister, he smuggles the baby aboard their ship, leaving a message in chalk on the wharfside telling Knocker he has taken 'Number 13' on board. He elicits the help of his fellow sailors to care for the baby while hiding it from their superiors; all the while in the midst of a series of joint operations with Allied navies off the coast of Italy. Knocker seeks the help of his rather casual shore-based senior officer but to little avail as the ship also maintains radio silence. Knocker makes the most of the unexpected time among the baker's extended family which becomes tense as the return of the baby is delayed. When Puncher's ship is about to be forced to surrender to superior forces during training exercises, his pompous Captain is able to use the presence of the baby to extricate himself from an embarrassing loss. The ship returns to port and the entire family is re-united on board.
|keywords||baby drink embarrass extended family fight force hide italy number 13 old friend royal navy run away training exercise|
|publisher||British Lion Films Distributors Corporation of America|