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Monday, 13 November 2017

The Pirate - A Love Story

If you were to ask me my favourite Gene Kelly film it wouldn't be Singin' In The Rain and my favourite Judy Garland film isn't Wizard of Oz........
                                                           
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The Pirate directed by Vincente Minnelli also stars Walter Slezak,Gladys Cooper

Manuella (Judy Garland)  finds herself betrothed to the local mayor (Walter Slezak) , however she longs for the love of renown pirate Macoco (aka Mack the Black) .
Serafin (Gene Kelly), a travelling player ,falls in love with her and poses as The Pirate but the Mayor has a secret of his own..........

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Since the age of 11 , I had been a mad Gene Kelly fan ,only really discovering Judy Garland a few years later due to the BBC putting on a series of Musicals to fill Sunday afternoon slots ( I wish they'd do it now!) Around about the same time I received a cassette recorder for my birthday and proceeded to record 'The Pirate' including the scene involving the revelation of Serafins deception and the subsequent fabulous ( rather one-sided!) battle that ensues in the adjacent room ......on playback very little could be heard at times due to the belly laughing of my sister and I.......
The Pirate is wonderful ( and if you don't agree I don't care!) You have some of the wittiest dialogue ,fantastic dancing( I love Nina- now that's a cigarette trick!  plus don't forget those thighs Mr Kelly!) and both Judy and Gene are at their best !
Yes, I know it bombed at its release ,as have many films before-  but look at it now ! Listen to their first exchange:

G: I can tell you your past, your present and your future!
J:You don't need to tell me my future ; I know my future!
G:Am I in it?
J:Certainly not!
G:Then you don't know your future......

And the kissing, oh my lord especially the kiss as he tries to wake her up from his hypnosis....watch the face, the arms, the hands ....oooooh!!!!


The Pirate features The Nicholas Brothers - both Gene and Judy had to fight for their inclusion , but their only number in the film 'Be A Clown' was cut by exhibitors in Memphis and other US cities in the South , the result of racial bigotry in the South at that time The Brothers moved to Europe returning in the mid 60s .Lena Horne originally had a part as a Dressmaker but was cut totally from the film

The torrid romance enacted in the number Voodoo so enraged L.B Mayer (?!) he had the negative burned , only the audio has survived. 'Be A Clown ' was plagiarised in 1952 'Singin' In The Rain' and reworked as 'Make 'em Laugh' - Cole Porter did not complain ......

I still want to be Serafin- walk that tightrope, swing on those sails and dance through that market!!!
The Pirate is wonderful and will forever be in my heart .....
What's your favourite Gene Kelly or Judy Garland film??

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