Sep 7, 2020
It’s week two of our month of musicals series and in-store, for us this time is a classic. Steven and Sean are wooing our lady loves by pretending to be dastardly pirates in this week’s episode. It’s the 1948 Gene Kelly and Judy Garland film, directed by Vincente Minnelli, The Pirate.
Shiver me timbers! Wait wait, it’s not really that sort of pirate film. It may be called The Pirate, but there’s not a single peg leg, eye patch, or bottle of rum to be found. At least, not to our knowledge, but who knows what was going on in the Caribbean during the time this film was set. Seriously, who could tell? It’s not as if this film was the most historically accurate thing ever made. What’s up with all the white people in the Caribbean? Do we not know the history of that area of the world or is this just a case of old Hollywood whitewashing the past?
Given the rough history of the film industry, it’s probably the second one.
Troubling issues aside, this film is actually a lot of fun. This is one of those classic musicals that feature both amazing songs and dance sequences that’ll just floor you. I mean, come on, Gene Kelly’s in it!
So there’s a woman, Manuela, who wants to see the world, but then she becomes engaged to Don Pedro, who used to be the dreaded pirate Macoco but is now posing as a respectable mayor. All’s well and good until an acting troupe comes to town and its leader, the dashing Serafin, meets Manuela and falls head over heels for her. Serafin recognizes Don Pedro for who he really is and masquerades as Macoco to blackmail him into leaving Manuela. Serafin wants to be with her so bad that he’s willing to risk losing his reputation and life for her, which he nearly does. Luckily, Manuela catches on that Serafin isn’t Macoco, falls in love with him too, and they both work together to show their town that Don Pedro isn’t who he claims to be.
Plus there’s loads of song and dance numbers, including one especially noteworthy sequence featuring fire, sword fighting, and Gene Kelly’s beefy thighs. Talk about a movie that has it all!
Steven, indeed both of us, enjoyed the songs and music in this film. They’re all full of fun, emotion, and do a decent job of telling the story. The technology and equipment used to record audio back then was certainly not as sophisticated as what’s used now. The sound collection and design was done well, but it’s not necessarily something that stands out these days. Still, those songs are great.
Sean was amazed by the very nimble camerawork on display. What must those camera setups have been like to keep up with Gene Kelly, doing some of his best work, as he dashes and climbs around the set? Those camera grips on set must have been the muscliest people in Hollywood at that time. Aside from the movement, this is a Technicolor delight and looks as good now as it ever has.
We’ve got another great musical in store for you next month! Get ready, it’s going to be an intense and bloody one…
(Recorded on July 02, 2020)
Links to Stuff We Mentioned:
Who the heck thought this would be a good idea? I mean, it looks like a delicious idea, but it feels impossible to look at without hurting your teeth.