Out to Sea

Out to Sea

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Martha Coolidge
Produced by John Davis
David T. Friendly
Written by Robert Nelson Jacobs
Music by Michael Muhlfriedel
David Newman
Cinematography Lajos Koltai
Edited by Anne V. Coates
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • July 2, 1997 (1997-07-02)
Running time
109 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $30,716,901

Out to Sea is a 1997 romantic comedy film starring Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Rue McClanahan, Dyan Cannon and Brent Spiner. It was the final film for Donald O'Connor, Gloria DeHaven and Edward Mulhare. The latter died on May 24, 1997, almost six weeks before the film's release.

Out to Sea was directed by Martha Coolidge, with a screenplay by Robert Nelson Jacobs. The original music score was composed by Michael Muhlfriedel and David Newman.

Plot summary

Compulsive gambler Charlie Gordon, hiding out from his various bookies and loan sharks, cons his close friend and brother-in-law, widower Herb Sullivan, whose recently deceased wife, Susie Gordon-Sullivan, was Charlie's sister, into an all expenses-paid luxury Holland America Mexican cruise. The catch, which Charlie does not reveal to Herb until the ship has left port, is that they are required to work as dance hosts and must sleep in a cramped cabin in the bowels of the ship.

Ruled over by tyrannical, control-freak cruise director Gil Godwyn ("a song and dance man raised on a military base"), they do their best, despite Charlie's not actually being able to dance. Each meets a lady of interest. One is the luscious heiress Liz LaBreche, whose wealth attracts Charlie every bit as much as the rest of her does. The other is lovely widow Vivian, who is under the impression that Herb is really a doctor, not a dancer. After finally telling her the truth, Herb soon finds himself quite attracted to Vivian, and eventually the feeling becomes mutual. However, because Herb still pines for the day Susie will suddenly come back to him, this conflicts his very strong feelings for Vivian, leading him to eventually stand her up on the day that they were supposed to view the rare solar eclipse together.

Herb decides against starting a new relationship with Vivian until Charlie reminds that Susie was his sister, long before she was Herb's wife, emphasizing that Susie would never want Herb to spend the rest of his life completely alone and unhappy. (Charlie: "Will you stop using Susie as a safety net?" Herb: "Wait a minute. Who in the hell are you to tell me...?" Charlie: "She was my sister before she was your wife. And if she were here now, she'd tell ya the same thing." Herb: "Ah, but she is not here now, is she Charlie? She's gone." Charlie: "That's right Herb, but you're not.").

By the time Charlie literally drags ship owner Mrs. Carruthers across the dance floor, the boys aren't sure if they will find true love or need to abandon ship. Liz and her mother are revealed to be gold-digging frauds, just like Charlie, but as they make their getaway with Vivian on a plane, Herb and Charlie call out to all to come back.

Main cast


The movie received an unenthusiastic review from Janet Maslin in The New York Times. She described the film as a "weak but genial romp." She credits Brent Spiner as a funny "scene-stealer" and says that Ms DeHaven is "almost as pretty" in this film as she was in Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times (1936), and says that Donald O'Connor's dancing "draw[s] a well-deserved round of applause".[1][2]

The film currently holds a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 21 reviews.[3]


  1. "Out to Sea (1997): On Board and on the Loose," Janet Maslin, New York Times, July 2, 1997
  2. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1896410/
  3. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1077599-out_to_sea/

External links

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