The Pirate!

The Pirate!

Monday Morning at The Movies!

THE PIRATE; 1948; Studio: MGM; Director: Vincente Minnelli; Cast: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Walter Slezak, Gladys Cooper

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With a production fraught with tension and troubled by clashes between its star and director (who were married at the time, and would divorce two years later), this musical tale of a Caribbean villager named Manuela (Garland) who dreams of falling in love with a legendary pirate, Macoco, and the traveling singer who poses as the pirate in order to woo her (Kelly), is a powerhouse teaming of two titanic talents that nevertheless didn’t capture an audience in its initial release.

Lena Horne’s planned role as Manuela’s dressmaker was eliminated, and a sequence in which Kelly dances with the Nicholas Brothers, who were black, was cut from showings of the film in the South.  Another number with Garland and Kelly, titled “Voodoo,” was seen as so racy that MGM head Louis B. Mayer ordered the footage burned.  Cole Porter wrote the songs. “It’s hard to kill an actor.”

Appreciation for the expert commentary above goes to Dr. Arnold Blumberg.  THANKS DOC!!  Doc is an educator, publisher, author, comic and pop culture historian, and former museum curator.  He was the editor of The Overstreet Comic Book Price guide and teaches courses in everything from comics to zombies to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Find him on Twitter @DoctoroftheDead.