Hit the Deck (1930 film)

Hit the Deck

Film poster
Directed by Luther Reed
Fred Fleck (assistant)
Produced by William LeBaron
Written by Hubert Osborne
Herbert Fields
Luther Reed
Starring Jack Oakie
Pollie Walker
Music by Victor Baravalle (director)
Vincent Youmans (music)
Cinematography Robert Kurrle
Edited by William Hamilton
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • January 14, 1930 (1930-01-14) ( Premiere-New York City)[1]
  • February 23, 1930 (1930-02-23) (US)[1]
Running time
93 minutes[1][2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $542,000[3]
Box office $1.1 million[3]

Hit the Deck is a 1930 American musical film directed by Luther Reed, which starred Jack Oakie and Polly Walker, and featured Technicolor sequences.[2] It was based on the musical Hit the Deck, which was itself based on the play, Shore Leave by Hubert Osborne. It was one of the most expensive productions of RKO Radio Pictures up to that time, and one of the most expensive productions of 1930. This version faithfully reproduced the stage version of the musical.



Looloo (Walker) runs a diner which is frequented with U.S. Navy sailors on shore leave, including officers. Two officers, Admiral Smith (Henderson) and Lieutenant Allen (MacDonald) accompany a wealthy socialite, Mrs. Payne (Clayton), to the establishment.

Mrs. Payne is an heiress, and when she engages in conversation with Looloo, she expresses admiration for the necklace Looloo is wearing. She offers to purchase it for a substantial sum, but it is a family heirloom and Looloo refuses. Later, two sailors arrive at the diner, Bilge (Oakie) and Clarence (Ovey), looking for Lavinia, Clarence's sweetheart who has run away. Bilge, is smitten with Looloo, and begins to romance her. Opening up to her, he reveals his desire to become the captain of his own ship after he leaves the navy. Before things go too far, Bilge's shipmates drag him back to his ship, which is scheduled to set sail.

Based on her conversation with Bilge, Looloo decides to sell her necklace to Mrs. Payne, in order to get the funds necessary to buy a ship for Bilge. When Bilge's ship docks once again, the two lovers are re-united, and Bilge proposes to Looloo, who happily accepts. However, when she tells him about the money, and the plans she's made to help him buy his own ship, his pride makes him indignant and he storms off. However, he later returns and the two agree to marry.



The film made a profit of $145,000.[3] Mordaunt Hall, The New York Times critic, gave the film a lackluster review.[2]


The Broadway musical, Hit the Deck , on which this film is based was written by Herbert Fields, with music by Vincent Youmans, and lyrics by Leo Robin and Clifford Grey; it premiered in New York City on April 25, 1927. That musical was based on an earlier play, Shore Leave, written by Hubert Osborne, which premiered in New York City on August 8, 1922.[1] The earlier play had been made into a silent film, also entitled Shore Leave, starring Richard Barthelmess and Dorothy Mackaill.

Osborne's play would also be remade into another musical version, Follow the Fleet, in 1936, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.[1] The film was choreographed by Pearl Eaton.[1]

Preservation status

The film is also considered a lost film.[4] The last known copy was destroyed in an RKO fire in the 1950s.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Hit the Deck: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 Hall, Mordaunt. "New York Times: Hit the Deck". NY Times. Retrieved August 18, 2008.
  3. 1 2 3 Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p56
  4. "Hit the Deck: Trivia". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on June 5, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014.

External links

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