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With: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Walter Slezak, Gladys Cooper, Reginald Owen, George Zucco, Ellen Ross
Written by: Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, based on a play by S.N. Behrman
Directed by: Vincente Minnelli
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 102
Date: 03/27/1948

The Pirate (1948)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Macoco Puff

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Vincente Minnelli's third movie with his wife Judy Garland is like a warm-up to An American in Paris (1951), but without the finesse. Set in the Caribbean, it centers on maiden Manuela (Judy Garland) who pines after a legendary pirate called Macoco, or "Mack the Black." Little does she know that the stately slob to whom she's betrothed, Don Pedro Vargas (Walter Slezak), is really the retired Macoco. A traveling thespian, Serafin (Gene Kelly), who has his eye on Manuela, takes advantage of this situation and impersonates Macoco. Everything ends when Manuela joins Serafin's troupe and sings "Be a Clown" (later adapted into the famous "Make 'Em Laugh" for Singin' in the Rain). Cole Porter provided the lusty songs and Harry Stradling the bold, Technicolor cinematography. There's even a dazzling ballet as Manuela imagines Serafin/Macoco doing his savage deeds, surrounded by towers of flame. It's a beautiful film, but often too broad and somewhat lacking in humanity.

DVD Details: Warner Home Video has released The Pirate as part of a seven-disc DVD box set, "Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory, Volume 2," which also includes Words and Music (1948), the compilation film That's Dancing (1985), That Midnight Kiss (1949), The Toast of New Orleans (1950), and two Fred Astaire features: The Belle of New York (1952) and Stanley Donen's Royal Wedding (1951). Each disc comes with lots of bonuses, including commentary tracks, vintage shorts, cartoons (a few from Tex Avery), featurettes, interviews, outtakes and trailers.

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