Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2018) on… The Pirate (1948)

Time for another request! This time, it’s the second Judy Garland/ Gene Kelly movie, The Pirate, also starring Walter Slezak.

Judy plays Manuela, a girl living in the town of Calvados. She dreams of being carried off by the pirate Macoco, but she becomes engaged to the rich mayor of the town. Wanting to see the sea before she is married, she goes with her aunt to Port Sebastian to get her wedding dress. While there, she encounters a traveling troupe of actors, led by Serafin (Gene Kelly). He falls for her immediately, but she is repulsed by him. At their show, Serafin hypnotizes Manuela, and learns of her love for Macoco. Upon being kissed, she awakes from her trance, and runs back to her aunt, with plans to go immediately back to Calvados. The troupe arrives right before the wedding, with Serafin now claiming to be Macoco. He threatens to destroy the town if Manuela isn’t brought to him. While she comes to him, the mayor gets away to bring the militia, doing so successfully.

One thing I should say right off is not to be fooled by the title. Anybody expecting a grand pirate adventure will be disappointed. There are no ship battles, sword fights, etc. Everything pretty much happens on land. The closest you get is Gene Kelly’s pirate ballet, which is a dream sequence for when Judy’s character imagines Serafin as Macoco in action. In spite of that, it is still a wonderful dance, giving Gene a chance to show off his athletic abilities.

There is a lot of fun to this movie, where it’s music is concerned. Admittedly, most of it is somewhat forgettable (but it certainly is fun to see Gene and Judy giving it their all, just the same). The main song that is memorable is “Be A Clown,” which is used twice. The first time, Gene dances with the Nicholas brothers, the first time they had danced onscreen with a Caucasian (and Gene insisted on them doing the routine with them). It was a wonderful dance, although the Nicholas brothers were punished by the dance being cut in some parts of the country, and they were blackballed from the movies after that. The song was reprised to end the movie, with Judy joining Gene, and both of them in clown getup, to comical effect. What should be mentioned here, too, is that the music was “borrowed” by Arthur Freed and given new lyrics to become the song “Make ‘Em Laugh” in Singin’ in the Rain (although apparently Cole Porter didn’t complain).

I do recommend this movie if you get the chance to see it! The movie is available on DVD from Warner Home Video, and the movie is about one hour, forty-one minutes in length.

My Rating: 9/10

Audience Rating:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.