A young man named Frederick leaves the zany band of pirates he was raised by to find true love and respectability, but when the Pirate King turns up to call on an old debt, Frederick must ... See full summary »
As a young child, Frederic had been apprenticed to a pirate by mistake when he should have been apprenticed to a pilot. Now, having reached his 21st year, Frederic's indentures are at last ... See full summary »
Harold, a professional gambler, and his girlfriend Bonita, a lounge singer, follow Willie, a young blackjack dealer, around the western U.S. Harold has a jinx on Willie and can't lose with ... See full summary »
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 »
You make it a point of never attacking a weaker party than yourselves, and when you attack a stronger one you invariably get thrashed!
[Pirates approach him with great indignation]
[Holding up finger]
There's some truth in that.
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I recently had the task, for a organization's class, to assemble various performances of the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta "The Pirates of Penzance". This has always been my favorite G&S work, and I have heard many live performances, plus I have played the Pirate King in a revue type staging of the work.
I recall seeing the Kevin Kline version many years ago, and did not recall the details. Obtaining a copy to view for my project, I was very impressed with the wit and overall quality of the performances. There are a few small issues, such as the fudging of Linda Ronstadt's and Rex Smith's vocal parts (It is clear, whenever Smith sings, that lots of electronic enhancement is being used to bring his voice into the same universe with the other more capable singers, but still he has right delivery and it works well; for Ronstadt, she does very well, but for "Poor Wandering One" her part has been transposed down a bit, probably so that she can manage the highest notes), and the overdubbing of a couple other performer's singing by better singers, but overall the dancing and singing is as good as any I have seen.
The staging is deliberately campy, somewhere between traditional stagecraft and a movie set, and it adds extra charm to the proceedings. There has been some carping about Angela Lansbury's singing, but what she does is in line with the requirements of the role, and is in fact typical of other performances of Ruth's character (I recall the director, during casting of the performance I was in, saying of Ruth, "we don't need a GOOD singer, only a FUNNY singer).
A quick review of the offerings of Pirates on Amazon reveals that the only DVD version of this cast is taken from an outdoor staging in New York (and without Lansbury). It is one of the mysteries of DVD releases that the film version does not exist on on DVD; it certainly one of the best.
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