This movie is an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta of the same name, with parts of other of their operettas stirred in. Frederic has fallen in love with sweet innocent Mabel. Yet his vocation is an impediment to their union. Perhaps the situation can be rectified by his old nurse, Ruth, who made a dreadful blunder years before. A highlight is the song/dance A Policeman's Lot is Not a Happy One.Written by
Show-business trade paper 'Variety' reported that "with the exception of Angela Lansbury . . . all other principal cast members have repeated their Broadway performances here". Moreover, 'Allmovie' states that this cinema movie "features Angela Lansbury as Ruth (the sole major casting change from the Broadway production - Estelle Parsons played the role on stage)." See more »
About 40 minutes into the film, while Mabel sings "Poor Wandering One," a bird flies behind Frederic and hits the "sky" backdrop, causing the bird to fall to the ground. This is only visible if watching the film in its original aspect ratio of 2.35 to 1. For television airings which have modified the dimensions of the film, the bird is still shown but you do not see it hit the backdrop. See more »
Gilbert and Sullivan titles, like Shakespeare, are far too easy to do badly. They can fall into 'traditional' ruts that rapidly drain all the life out of them. This is why THIS Pirates of Penzance is such a treat. The production team obviously recognized that the whole story is absurd, and so they had fun with it. They took their work seriously, but not (the kiss of death) pompously. The result is wonderful.
HOWEVER: be warned that there IS a DVD of Pirates of Penzance with ALMOST the same cast. It was filmed/taped on Broadway as part of an archival project while the production that inspired the movie was on stage. IT IS SIMPLY AWFUL!
It may well serve its original purpose as a reference for professionals, but the camera work is so bad as to be almost unwatchable. It totally spoils what looks like it may well have been a charming production - at least I assume it was; it inspired a wonderful film, but you just can't tell from the DVD.
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