The Pirates of Penzance (1983) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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,… Runtime: 112 min Release Date: 18 Feb 1983
I first saw this incarnation of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance" at the age of 10, but just recently saw it again when my school decided to perform it for our annual spring musical. At the age of 18, I expected that I would find it immature after having liked it at 10. Needless to say, I was wrong. This is a wonderful adaptation of a great operetta, and becomes even better with the experience of performing it.Fans of Kevin Kline rejoice! He plays the perfect "Pirate King," the silly leader of a band of pirates who seem to be completely incompetent, if only <more>
at piracy. He delivers his lines with precision and, along with David Hatton Samuel , adds a much needed low bass-baritone to Rex Smith Frederic and the rest of the pirates' tenor in the pirate tunes.The late Tony Azito Police Sergeant 's performance is literally unbelievable, as he looks more like a man made out of rubber rather than flesh and bone. I would recommend this to anyone, especially die hard Gilbert and Sullivan fans.
Gilbert and Sullivan titles, like Shakespeare, are far too easy to do badly. They can fall into 'traditional' ruts that rapidly drain all the life out of them. This is why THIS Pirates of Penzance is such a treat. The production team obviously recognized that the whole story is absurd, and so they had fun with it. They took their work seriously, but not the kiss of death pompously. The result is wonderful.HOWEVER: be warned that there IS a DVD of Pirates of Penzance with ALMOST the same cast. It was filmed/taped on Broadway as part of an archival project while the production that <more>
inspired the movie was on stage. IT IS SIMPLY AWFUL!It may well serve its original purpose as a reference for professionals, but the camera work is so bad as to be almost unwatchable. It totally spoils what looks like it may well have been a charming production - at least I assume it was; it inspired a wonderful film, but you just can't tell from the DVD.
I fell in love with Linda Ronstadt the first time I saw this film in 1983. I also fell in love with Angela Lansbury and, perhaps even Kevin Kline. This fantastical, comedic, interpretation of the wonderful Gilbert and Sullivan musical updates the music, the humor, and performance, while actually enhancing the theatrical quality of the original play and leaving the plot, characters, and script largely intact. The film feels like an exciting, quite silly, and very fun play seen from the best possible angles on an elaborate but very stagy set. The actors intentionally overact - as if their most <more>
subtle movements must be seen by an audience in a three story balcony. The music is also somewhat overblown, but absolutely wonderful. Did I mention Linda Ronstadt? Her vocal performance is frankly unbelievable! She might not be much of an actress, but acting talent was really not required for the role of Maybelle. The story is about Frederick Rex Smith , a young man who has just left his indenture under the flamboyant, somewhat unsuccessful and soft-hearted 'Pirate King' Kline and his band of fairly inoffensive ruffians. Vowing to slay his beloved friend to atone for the sins he probably did not commit during his indenture, Frederick leaves his doomed friends and comes ashore, only to fall immediately in love with Maybelle, but the pirates are only a few steps behind him. The entire story is told with very minimal dialog and a lot of great music, slapstick, and camp. The voices are cast perfectly, and Kline's physical performance is nothing short of amazing. What can I say? I've just watched 'Pirates' again after a hiatus of about 18 years, and the old magic came back immediately. I love this film, and heartily recommend it to all. Not everybody will feel as I do, but I can't even attempt objectivity in reviewing this film. Enjoy!
You wouldn't expect G&S-turned-rock to often "often" frequently, I mean work, but this one does - like magic! (by harry_tk_yung)
Among the dozen of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, The Mikado has, over the years, been adapted to death, including varieties such as "Jazz Mikado", "Black Mikado" etc. I'm not sure about the Pirates of Penzance, but there must have been a few. Even without seeing any other, however, I'm convinced that the Rex Smith/Linda Ronstadt/Kevin Kline version must be among the best.Beautiful melodies have an edge in lending themselves to successful adaptations to a different musical form, but there's a limit. For example, I wouldn't' want to hear Voi Che Sapate <more>
from The Marriage of Figaro to me the most beautiful of Mozart's songs in any adapted style. Even within Sullivan's abundant supply of lovely songs, a lot just won't fit e.g. Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes from The Gondoliers . What worked like magic however is Ronstadt and Smith singing "Ah, leave me not to pine", particularly Smith, whose singing took the song into a new realm of romance not reached before by D'Oyly Carte tenors yes, I expect some death threats from G&S purists . Ditto for "Oh, is there not one maiden here". The way Smith delivered this song made the swooning of the bevy of beauties absolutely believable. He's the best.Linda Ronstadt is almost as good. Vocally, she met the demand from the soprano role almost effortlessly. Wonder though if she is up to The Queen of the Night in Mozart's Magic Flute . Singing aside, her screen personality fit perfectly with that of Mabel.To people who love this adaptation of Pirates, Kevin Kline is often the reason why they do. Here, the singing is not so demanding, but Kline shines in the acting, having got a role that provided ample opportunities for him to display his comedy talents.Angela Lansbury did well as Ruth, despite her disadvantage in the singing department. George Rose is Major-General Stanley incarnate.Finally, though this must have been said many times, the transportation of the trio patter song from Ruddigore was a stroke of ingenuity.
This delightful, deliberately stagy adaptation of the Broadway Pirates of Penzance is a treat both for G&S fans I am one and anyone who is new to their particular combination of great music and zany humor.I saw this production in London in the early 80s, and it remains my favorite version of any G&S opera, and one of the most enjoyable evenings I've ever spent in a theater. A friend who saw it soon after me told me that on the bus back to her hotel after seeing it, the conductor told her "You've just been to see Pirates of Penzance". When my friend asked how she <more>
knew, she replied, "The look on your face." I'm sure most of the audience left the theater every night with faces glowing with joy.The decision to film this with stage scenery rather than "realistic" backgrounds was brilliant. Too many great stage shows have been made into abysmal films by making them too realistic Man of La Mancha, for example . These are not "real" pirates on a "real" pirate ship.I agree with everyone who has written in praise of the stars of this film. They must have had a wonderful time performing this in front of live audiences, and they seem to be enjoying themselves here, as well. They make the most of their parts, singing up a storm, deliberately overacting. Lines which in other performances I've seen thrown away suddenly are hilariously, hysterically funny the way Kevin Kline declares them. To G&S novices: every line, every word in the script comes from the original libretto. Gilbert knew they were funny, but too many directors and actors have forgotten how to make them entertaining.The final chase scenes through the streets of Penzance and into a theater where a performance of HMS Pinafore is going on are icing on the cake. They have nothing to do with the original play or the Broadway version, but they help bring the film to a joyous end. When Pirate King Kline shouted "SIT" to the police dogs - and all the policemen immediately sat on the ground - I was wiping tears of laughter from my eyes. One of the best "feel-good" movies you are ever likely to watch.
While still, mysteriously, overlooked by film and film musical lovers alike, "Pirates" is a definite smash and even on repeated viewing continues to delight.This was a ready-made movie of sorts, a for-the-cameras version of a Broadway production that originated at the NY Shakespeare Festival. The cast is virtually intact but for Ruth, who was played by Estelle Parsons onstage. Considering its roots, the film is remarkably un-stagey. It didn't play long in theatres, and took a decade just to come to DVD. The libretto for the film, as well as the stage production from which, <more>
unlike the movie, there is a soundtrack available for purchase , features lyrics and songs lifted from other G&S works, which intensify Gilbert's penchant for self-ridicule. As they are licensed for use only by the G&S estate, these supplements make this movie somewhat of a rarity among "Pirates" incarnations.The players are stellar- yes, Kevin Kline is outstanding, Tony Azito is the other real standout. Outrageous costumes, ludicrous art direction and some hilariously overblown choreography enhance the endearing and enduring! silliness of the piece.
Gilbert and Sullivan still have a strong and legitimate appeal (by bbhlthph)
History records that Gilbert and Sullivan were personally often at odds when producing their great comic operettas - no doubt that, if they are still monitoring this, they are surprised to find both their humour and their music - despite its limitations in both time and location - still has a great appeal to audiences throughout much of the world. The music of course is timeless, but music too evolves and many people today have no appreciation of the types of lyrics which G & S exploited so shamelessly. Perhaps the remarkable thing is the wide and continuing appeal of so many of their <more>
works. This film is a movie version of a 100th anniversary Broadway stage production of this operetta in New York. A review of previous comments show, not unexpectedly, that it has been adored by numerous G. & S. fans; but that its appeal to those who are not in this category is much more limited. They also make it clear that this is a very fine production; and it would be a serious omission if I did not re-emphasise it is almost a classical example of the way in which a major stage production should be presented on film, both to retain the best of the original production and to as fully as possible exploit the more fluid form of presentation that is possible on the screen.To your reviewer who reports fears about wearing out her taped version, I would recommend doing what I have done and converting this to a VCD disk that she can play, almost for ever, on her DVD player. It is, I believe, a great film; and my wife and I have also viewed it repeatedly whenever we have been a little "blue", we never fail to feel cheered up afterwards. However we recognise that most members of the contemporary generation would not respond in this way, and that our appreciation will not even be understood by them. We remain thankful that minority tastes can still be satisfied without infringing on the perogatives of the majority, and that in the process of doing so the film will be seen by many who initially have little sympathy with the production, but who find that - as with so many of us in the older generation - they have come to appreciate both its music and its humour.
the late actor who plays the Major-General and the late Tony Azito who is the captain of the constables, were just part of this great cast, this is a great tribute to two men who died so tragically. Can't think of a better venue to showcase all of these actors/actresses and singers all.
a mega hit in Oz (by ptb-8)
God knows what affected the nation's sense of humor and sensibility here in Australia, but this production was a gigantic hit in 1983 and this film played for months on end breaking records in cinemas across Australia. Middle aged women went to see it dozens of times and it became the auntie and nieces repeat movie visit of the year. And 1983 was a terrible year for Oz cinemas with a video boom happening. PIRATES even was remade here with Kristy Mc Nichol and Christopher Atkins, such was the fever! and on top of that it was revived on stage and toured Nationwide at least 3 times into the <more>
90s. Then of course we went on to make PRISCILLA and MURIEL and STRICTLY BALLROOM and all the rest of the musical campery Oz is known for. Women could just not get enough of Rex Smith and Kevin Kline. They just went crazy. Such is Australia.