The Pirates of Penzance (1983 film)
|The Pirates of Penzance|
|Directed by||Wilford Leach|
|Produced by||Joseph Papp|
|Written by||William S. Gilbert (operetta)
|Music by||Arthur Sullivan (non-original music)|
|Edited by||Anne V. Coates|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$694,497 (US)|
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.
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 Ronstadt). 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.
- Pour, oh Pour the Pirate Sherry – Pirates and Samuel
- When Frederic Was A Little Lad+ – Ruth
- Oh Better Far to Live and Die++ – Pirate King
- Oh False One, You Have Deceived Me – Frederic and Ruth
- Climbing Over Rocky Mountain+ – Major General's Daughters
- Stop, Ladies, Pray – Frederic and Daughters
- Oh Is There Not One Maiden Breast+ – Frederic and Daughters
- Oh Sisters, Deaf to Pity's Name – Mabel and Daughters
- Poor Wandering One++ – Mabel and Daughters
- Stay, We Must Not Lose Our Senses – Frederic, Daughters and Pirates
- Hold Monsters and I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General+ – Mabel, Major General and Chorus
- Act I Finale – Company
- Oh Dry the Glistening Tear* – Mabel and Daughters
- When the Foeman Bares His Steel++ – Sergeant of Police
- Now For The Pirate's Lair – Frederic, King and Ruth
- When You Had Left Our Pirate Fold+ – Ruth, King and Frederic
- My Eyes are Fully Open (from Ruddigore) – Frederic, Ruth and King
- Away, Away, My Heart's On Fire – King, with Frederic and Ruth
- Stay, Frederic, Stay – Mabel and Frederic
- Ah, Leave Me Not To Pine – Mabel and Frederic
- Oh Here Is Love And Here Is Truth – Mabel and Frederic
- No, I Am Brave+ and Sergeant, Approach+++ – Mabel, Police and Sergeant
- When A Felon's Not Engaged In His Employment+ – Sergeant and Police
- A Rollicking Band of Pirates, We – Sergeant, Pirates and Police
- With Cat Like Tread++ – Pirates and Police
- Sighing Softly To The River – Major-General and Men
- Act II Finale++ – Company
- Differences from the stage version
- +++Originally dialogue.
- Omitted: How Beautifully Blue the Sky
The film was a box office bomb, with a US box-office gross of $694,497, but it received mostly positive reviews from critics; review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports an 80% "fresh" rating for the film. Theater owners boycotted the film because Universal Pictures released it simultaneously to theaters and to subscription television services SelecTV and ON-TV. Only 91 theaters showed it.
The film was released on VHS in 1984 and on DVD in 2010.
- The Pirates of Penzance at the Internet Movie Database
- The Pirates of Penzance at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Pirates of Penzance at AllMovie
- Review at Variety