Actor Robert Montgomery would serve as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve during WWII, but he was just a lowly seaman in the 1931 MGM programmer Shipmates. When he's not being pushed around by chief petty officer Ernest Torrence, naval recruit Jonesy (Montgomery) is busily wooing Kit (Dorothy Jordan) the daughter of Admiral Corbin (Hobart Bosworth). After several reels of irresponsibility, Jonesy proves his worth by preventing an arsenal ship from being destroyed by a burning oil tanker. Cliff Edwards provides the requisite comic relief as a goofy gob named Bilge. Though Shipmates could hardly qualify as Robert Montgomery's best film, it was the picture in which he was finally afforded top billing, thereby increasing his salary to a daunting $2100 per week.
by Hal Erickson synopsis