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Princess Margaret is travelling incognito to elope with her true love instead of marrying the man her father has betrothed her to. On the high seas, her ship is attacked by pirates who know her identity and plan to kidnap her and hold her for a king's ransom. Little do the cutthroats know that she will be rescued by that unlikeliest of knights errant, Sylvester the Great, who will lead them on a merry, and madcap, chase.Written by
Opening credits prologue: Many, many years ago there sailed the Seven Seas the most bloodthirsty buccaneer in history. Ruthless and daring he was, and, though his soul was black with foul deeds, he feared no creature, living or dead.
Because he had an iron claw for a right hand, this terror of the ocean lanes was known as . . .
Bob Hope again plays his cowardly character in "The Princess and the Pirate," a 1944 film from Samuel Goldwyn Studios. The film also stars Virginia Mayo, Walter Slezak, Victor McLaglen, and Walter Brennan. Hope plays Sylvester the Great (who gives his last name as Crosby), a bad performer who becomes involved with an incognito princess, played by pretty Virginia Mayo. There's really no point in going through the story - it's fairly ridiculous, concerning a map and a treasure. It's really just an excuse for some gorgeous Technicolor escapist entertainment in the midst of World War II. Beautiful women (the Goldwyn Girls) and lots of comedy abound. Hope is a scream as Sylvester, impersonating a Gypsy woman and Captain Barrett (McLaglen) who has a hook for a hand. Toward the end of the film, both Barrett and Sylvester disguised as Barrett are in Barrett's quarters, unaware of one another, each leaving the room from time to time and making opposite pronouncements to the pirates. Very funny stuff.
Hope is an absolute riot with that dry, offhand delivery of his and his facial expressions. He generally played an avowed coward, though a likable one, and this time is no different. Everyone does a great job in this, and I'm sure audiences, depressed by war news, appreciated it. Lots of fun and recommended.
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