Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The third of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's starring films, In the Navy was released second; Universal had just made a bundle off Abbott and Costello's Buck Privates, and the studio wanted another "service" comedy put into circulation in a hurry. Abbott and Costello share over-the-title billing with Dick Powell, who plays a popular radio singer. Eager to avoid his screaming fans, Powell enlists in the Navy under an assumed name, hoping to serve his country incognito. Girl reporter Claire Dodd chases after Powell, hoping to secure a photo of the fugitive "idol of millions." So much for the "straight" plot; what are Abbott and Costello up to? Well, Costello plays a ship's cook who wants to impress Patty Andrews of The Andrews Sisters. With his pal Abbott's help, Costello poses as an admiral -- and in so doing nearly destroys the entire American fleet. This climactic sequence ran into trouble when the U.S. Navy decided that it didn't want to be held up to ridicule by showing the bumbling Costello ordering its ships around. To save the climax -- the most expensive portion of the film -- the scriptwriters wrote a new coda, passing off Costello's "admiralty" as a dream sequence. The best Abbott and Costello routines have little if anything to do with the plot: our favorite (indeed, everyone's favorite) is Costello proving to Abbott that 7 X 13 = 28. Those viewers who prefer music to comedy will be thoroughly satisfied by the vocal contributions of Dick Powell and The Andrews Sisters, as well as a lively dance number offered by the Condos Brothers.
Navy, friendship, reporter, singer, on-the-run, publicity, shipboard, fleet, hallucination, high-seas, military, celebrity, chef, escape, stars [celebrities], fanatic