Gilbert & Sullivan - Pirates of Penzance / Michell, Kelly, Oliver, Allen, Opera World (1982)
Front Cover Actor
Movie Details
Director Rodney Greenberg
Language English
Audience Rating NR (Not Rated)
Country USA
Color Color
The Pirates of Penzance would seem to be one of the most indestructible of theatrical works, with its seamless parody and melodic brilliance. No material is surefire, however. In this lackluster version, the pleasures are sporadic at best. The production, originally shown on the BBC, is a nondaring affair that avoids any modern sensibility or satiric edge. Mabel's song "Poor Wand'ring One," a swipe at the trilling idiocies of opera, here lacks any sting at all, with Mabel's sisters pirouetting in wholesome Victorian fashion--just what the anti-sentimental Gilbert and Sullivan didn't have in mind. Nevertheless, there are some good gags. When Frederic reveals himself to the sisters as they are daringly taking off their shoes, they hop backward in fright, simultaneously, on one foot. The casting includes some fatal errors. Alexander Oliver as Frederic is plainly so much older than his juvenile character that the role is reduced to nonsense. Worse, his performance is drab and lethargic. The singer-songwriter Peter Allen, cast as the Pirate King presumably for star appeal, contributes a hip-swiveling Vegas style that jars with everything around him. Keith Michell, as a charming, befuddled Major-General, is much better.

This is an entry in the Opera World series of Gilbert and Sullivan videos, made in the early 1980s. The operettas in the series were sometimes cut to fit a two-hour time slot. Pirates, instead, was padded with a bland making-of-the-film segment, followed by endless travelogue shots of the seaside town of Penzance. Don't bother. --David Olivenbaum

Personal Details
Seen It Yes
Index 456
Collection Status In Collection
Links Amazon US
Product Details
Format DVD
Region Region 1
UPC 054961533596
Release Date 1/1/2004
Nr of Disks/Tapes 1
Extra Features