The Pirates of Penzance (1983 film)

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The Pirates of Penzance
The-pirates-of-penzance-1982.jpg
Directed by Wilford Leach
Produced by Joseph Papp
Written by William S. Gilbert (operetta)
Wilford Leach
Starring Tony Azito
Kevin Kline
Angela Lansbury
Linda Ronstadt
George Rose
Rex Smith
Music by Arthur Sullivan (non-original music)
Cinematography Douglas Slocombe
Edited by Anne V. Coates
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) February 18, 1983 (1983-02-18)
Running time 112 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $16 million
Box office $694,497

The Pirates of Penzance is a 1983 musical film based on Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera of the same name. It stars Kevin Kline, Rex Smith, Angela Lansbury, George Rose, Linda Ronstadt, and Tony Azito. The cast also includes Timothy Bentinck, Louise Gold and Tilly Vosburgh.

The movie is a film version of the 1980 Joseph Papp production of Pirates. The original Broadway cast reprised their roles in the film, except that Lansbury replaced Estelle Parsons as Ruth. The minor roles used British actors miming to their Broadway counterparts. It was filmed at Shepperton Studios in London.

Plot summary[edit]

Frederic (Rex Smith) was sent in the care of his nursemaid, Ruth (Angela Lansbury), to be apprenticed to a pilot. But she misunderstood her instructions, being hard of hearing, and apprenticed him instead to a pirate (Kevin Kline). Now he is turning 21 years old, and his service is finished, so he decides to leave the Pirates of Penzance. Ruth wants him to take her with him, but he soon meets some young maidens, the daughters of Major-General Stanley (George Rose), and realizes that Ruth is "plain and old". Frederic quickly falls in love with one of them, Mabel (Linda Rondstadt). He has a strong "sense of duty" and has vowed to lead a blameless life and to exterminate the pirates. Soon, however, the pirates return and seize the girls. Their father then arrives and lies to the pirates, telling them that he is an orphan. He knows that they are orphans themselves and never attack an orphan.

After the pirates leave, General Stanley wrestles with his conscience, having told a lie. Mabel and Frederic try to cheer him up, and Frederic has engaged the constabulary to help him defeat the pirates. The police arrive, but they turn out to be timid. Then the pirate king and Ruth find Frederic alone. They have reviewed the fine print on his apprenticeship indenture and have discovered that he is still a pirate because he was born in leap year on February 29, and he will not be out of his indentures to the pirates until his 21st birthday. Mabel agrees to wait for Frederic until then! The Police return and, hearing the pirates approach, they hide. The pirates arrive and seize the still guilt-ridden Major-General. The police are coaxed to battle the pirates, but they are defeated. However, the Sergeant of Police (Tony Azito) calls on the pirates to "yield in Queen Victoria's name." The pirates tearfully do so and release the Major-General, surrendering to the police. However, Ruth reveals that the pirates are all "noblemen who have gone wrong", and the Major-General pardons them and invites them to marry his daughters, as all ends happily.

Musical numbers[edit]

  1. Overture
  2. Pour, oh Pour the Pirate Sherry – Pirates and Samuel
  3. When Frederic Was A Little Lad+ – Ruth
  4. Oh Better Far to Live and Die++ – Pirate King
  5. Oh False One, You Have Deceived Me – Frederic and Ruth
  6. Climbing Over Rocky Mountain+ – Major General's Daughters
  7. Stop, Ladies, Pray – Frederic and Daughters
  8. Oh Is There Not One Maiden Breast+ – Frederic and Daughters
  9. Oh Sisters, Deaf to Pity's Name – Mabel and Daughters
  10. Poor Wandering One++ – Mabel and Daughters
  11. Stay, We Must Not Lose Our Senses – Frederic, Daughters and Pirates
  12. Hold Monsters and I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General+ – Mabel, Major General and Chorus
  13. Act I Finale – Company
  14. Oh Dry the Glistening Tear* – Mabel and Daughters
  15. When the Foeman Bares His Steel++ – Sergeant of Police
  16. Now For The Pirate's Lair – Frederic, King and Ruth
  17. When You Had Left Our Pirate Fold+ – Ruth, King and Frederic
  18. My Eyes are Fully Open (from Ruddigore) – Frederic, Ruth and King
  19. Away, Away, My Heart's On Fire – King, with Frederic and Ruth
  20. Stay, Frederic, Stay – Mabel and Frederic
  21. Ah, Leave Me Not To Pine – Mabel and Frederic
  22. Oh Here Is Love And Here Is Truth – Mabel and Frederic
  23. No, I Am Brave+ and Sergeant, Approach+++ – Mabel, Police and Sergeant
  24. When A Felon's Not Engaged In His Employment+ – Sergeant and Police
  25. A Rollicking Band of Pirates, We – Sergeant, Pirates and Police
  26. With Cat Like Tread++ – Pirates and Police
  27. Sighing Softly To The River – Major-General and Men
  28. Act II Finale++ – Company
Differences from the stage version
+Shortened
++Extended
+++Originally dialogue.
Omitted: How Beautifully Blue the Sky

Reception[edit]

The film was not a box office success, but received mostly positive reviews; review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports an 80% "fresh" rating for the film.[1][2] Theater owners boycotted the film because Universal Pictures released it simultaneously to theatres and to SelecTV, a Los Angeles subscription television service. Only 92 theaters showed it.[3]

The film was released on DVD in September, 2010.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]