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Son of a Sailor (1933)

A smooth-talking sailor looking for a quick date meets the granddaughter of an admiral and finds himself in a house full of top Navy officers, along with a couple of spies interested in plans for a new robot-controlled flight system.


Lloyd Bacon


Alfred A. Cohn (screen play) (as Al Cohn), Paul Girard Smith (screen play) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Joe E. Brown ... 'Handsome' Callahan
Jean Muir ... Helen Farnsworth
Frank McHugh ... 'Gaga'
Thelma Todd ... The Baroness
Johnny Mack Brown ... 'Duke'
Sheila Terry ... Genevieve
George Blackwood George Blackwood ... Armstrong
Merna Kennedy ... Isabel
Kenneth Thomson ... Williams
Samuel S. Hinds ... Admiral Farnsworth (as Samuel Hinds)
Noel Francis ... Queenie
Arthur Vinton ... Vincent
George Irving ... Rear Admiral Lee


Sailor Handsome from the aircraft carrier Saratoga meets in San Francisco Helen, a relative of his admiral. Invited at his home he meets a friend from his ship who has invented an autopilot for the planes. Two spies are trying to steal the plans, as well as the autopilot that is already installed at a plane. Handsome tries to stop them from doing this... Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventure | Comedy


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Release Date:

23 December 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cavando o Dele See more »

Filming Locations:

USS Saratoga CV-3 See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

First National Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Edward A. Lynch filed a suit in a U.S. Federal Court against Warner Bros/First National Pictures in 1940. Lynch asked for $100,000, claiming that his book, "When Homer Comes Marching Home," was plagiarized by the Warner production, "Son of a Sailor," which starred Joe E. Brown. Trial opened on Thursday, February 15, with Federal Judge Clraence G. Galston presiding. See more »


Shuffle Off to Buffalo
(1932) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played on the harmonica
See more »

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User Reviews

At Sea With Joe E. Brown
25 November 2003 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

A brash & cocky seaman acts like a true SON OF A SAILOR as he stumbles from one mishap to another.

Comic Joe E. Brown literally dominates this funny little film, and that is not a bad thing. With his huge mouth and amusing body movements, Brown is a very humorous fellow to watch. He is given abundant opportunity here to display his talents. Whether successfully wooing a series of lovely ladies with only a pair of baby shoes as a prop, struggling with a spy in an open cockpit aeroplane, or finding himself stranded on a bombarded battleship, Brown always supplies plenty of laughs.

It's his costars who are given very short shrift. Frank McHugh plays the sailor stooge who idolizes Brown, but he disappears early in the proceedings (but not before a wonderfully uproarious scene in which Brown teaches him how to flirt). The very talented & tragic Thelma Todd plays a mysterious baroness, but outside of a great sequence where she attempts to keep Brown locked in her bedroom, she is shamelessly wasted. Pretty Jean Muir as an admiral's granddaughter and stalwart Johnny Mack Brown as a Navy inventor, are both merely used to move the plot along and their potential romantics is completely ignored.

Way down the cast list is Arthur Vinton, who does score nicely as a suave English butler who must use his considerable muscle to keep Joe from escaping the home of Samuel S. Hinds, who plays Miss Muir's grandfather.

Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited Ward Bond playing a suspicious cabby.

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