Romance on the High Seas (1948)

Romance on the High Seas (1948)

“Just remember that while it’s your lips that are being kissed, it’s my reputation that will be suffering.”

A suspicious wife (Janis Paige) hires a singer (Doris Day) to impersonate her on a cruise to South America so she can stay behind in New York and spy on her equally suspicious husband (Don DeFore), who meanwhile has hired a private eye (Jack Carson) to spy on “his wife” (Day). When Carson falls for Day and Day’s smitten accompanist (Oscar Levant) comes on board the ship to pursue her anew, the situation gets even more complicated.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • At Sea
  • Busby Berkeley Films
  • Detectives and Private Eyes
  • Doris Day Films
  • Jack Carson Films
  • Love Triangle
  • Marital Problems
  • Michael Curtiz Films
  • Mistaken or Hidden Identities
  • Musicals
  • Oscar Levant Films
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Singers

I was pleasantly surprised to check out this debut film for Doris Day — directed by Michael Curtiz and Busby Berkeley — in which Day shows ample evidence of the charm and musical talent she would bring to so many of her later films. The storyline is a fluffy rom-com mistaken identity bedroom farce, but it’s cleverly scripted (by Julius and Philip Epstein), well-acted (it’s always nice to see Carson in a lead role), and features fine Technicolor cinematography and enjoyable costume changes at nearly every scene shift. Of particular note is Janis Paige — so memorable in Silk Stockings (1957) — whose severe outfits here match her severe attitude; this isn’t a wife to mess with!

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Doris Day as Georgia Garrett
  • Fine supporting performances

  • Several enjoyable musical numbers
  • Fun costumes
  • Beautiful Technicolor cinematography

Must See?
Yes, for Day’s notable debut performance.


  • Historically Relevant
  • Noteworthy Performance(s)


One thought on “Romance on the High Seas (1948)

  1. First viewing (5/29/16). A must-see – for the performances by Day and Carson, the direction by Curtiz and, esp., the fine, farce script.

    As per my post in ‘The ’40s-’50s in Film’ (fb):

    “Oh, you don’t know what it’s like to want someone and not be able to do anything about it.”

    ‘Romance on the High Seas’ (1948): This Sammy Cahn -Jule Styne musical introduced us to Doris Day on-screen. I’d not seen it before. Early on, Doris plays a kind of ‘real broad’ of a chanteuse who is called on to impersonate a society dame (a fun Janis Paige). Directed by Michael Curtiz, it’s typically polished in Curtiz style. The score is on the delightful side – I was esp. pleased to hear Jack Carson (!) sing ‘Run, Run, Run’ in kind-of a Trinidad accent – and Doris had an Oscar-nom hit with ‘It’s Magic’. Strangely, Busby Berkeley gets prominent billing for creating and staging musical numbers…when none of the numbers require any real staging and no such staging really exists in the film (?!). The script by twin brothers Julius and Philip Epstein (with help by I.A.L. Diamond) is by far the film’s best aspect: a traditional farce that eventually and wonderfully builds complication upon complication.

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