The Pirate

  • 1948
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Musical

The story is wearisome and the acting fever-pitched, but the music and dancing in this colorful film are spectacular. The setting is the Caribbean Island of San Sebastian in the 1820s, where young Manuela (Judy Garland) fantasizes about the notorious pirate Macoco, better known as "Mack the Black." Serafin (Gene Kelly), a strolling minstrel, falls in love...read more

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The story is wearisome and the acting fever-pitched, but the music and dancing in this colorful film are spectacular. The setting is the Caribbean Island of San Sebastian in the 1820s, where young Manuela (Judy Garland) fantasizes about the notorious pirate Macoco, better known as "Mack

the Black." Serafin (Gene Kelly), a strolling minstrel, falls in love with Manuela, and tries to win her heart by impersonating Macoco. Meanwhile, Don Pedro (Walter Slezak), the mayor of the town and Manuela's fiance by arrangement, schemes against Serafin, who nonetheless persists in his charade,

boldly demanding that the town hand Manuela over to him lest he unloose his fierce pirates. Manuela discovers his fraud, however, and a knock-down, drag-out fight between the fiery lovers takes place while they sing/shout Cole Porter's "Love of My Life." To his peril, Serafin learns that Don Pedro

is really Macoco incognito; Manuela, however, has never known this and is by now hopelessly in love with the street performer. Eventually, she joins his troupe of players, ending the film with a reprise of "Be a Clown" in which Garland and Kelly sing and dance with several of their teeth blackened

and big red noses gleaming. THE PIRATE is an old-fashioned lavish MGM musical, dripping with lush color and peppered with wonderful numbers. Little care is given to the script and the dramatics, but the film is a scenic treat, offering magnificent sets and a frenetic pace typical of director

Vincente Minnelli (then Garland's husband). Filming was slowed down considerably by Garland's emotional illness; she was on the verge of a breakdown and delayed the proceedings with paranoiac attacks directed at Minnelli, Kelly, and Porter. A financial failure that cost MGM $3,768,000 and earned

back only $2,290,000 in its initial release, THE PIRATE has earned a cult following, chiefly for its extravagant choreography, especially in the sweeping "Nina" and "Mack the Black" numbers, danced energetically by Kelly. A special treat is the appearance of the Nicholas Brothers, who dance with

Kelly in the first "Be a Clown" number; they were edited out of this scene in southern theaters at the time of release.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The story is wearisome and the acting fever-pitched, but the music and dancing in this colorful film are spectacular. The setting is the Caribbean Island of San Sebastian in the 1820s, where young Manuela (Judy Garland) fantasizes about the notorious pirat… (more)

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