Thoughts on The Pirate (1948) starring Judy Garland & Gene Kelly

Let's take a brief look at another Gene Kelly film. The Pirate (1948) pairs Kelly with Judy Garland. It's a retelling of the Broadway play of the same name by S.N. Behrmann.

Cole Porter, the brilliant composer for the film, wanted nothing to do with the finished product. Apparently this film was a flop in its day.

It's now a much-loved classic.

Strolling player Sarafin (Kelly) pretends to be the pirate Macoco knowing Manuela (Garland) has a crush on the pirate.

My favorite part is the section where Manuela pretends not to know that Sarafin has lied about his identity.

Manuela is furious. Sarafin enters. She's starts her act. It's funny.

She parodies her own admiration for the real pirate with wild gestures of drama and professions of deep adoration ("Don't you know that the record of your deeds is written on my heart?"). Then suddenly she goes quiets and mysteriously goes into another room.

Sarafin follows her into the other room, puzzled. Manuela, the wronged woman, begins pelting him with whatever she can lay her hands on (Garland has a fabulous throwing arm.)

I love how the two sides of this diptych of professions of undying love and the acts of violence are separated by actual doors. It's brilliant and funny.

Of course, this is an MGM musical and the two sparring stars must end up together.

This is my favorite of Judy Garland's costumes in this film. It's so light and feminine.

I love that Manuela's domineering Aunt Inez ( the fabulous Gladys Cooper) wears a top hat under a veil. It under girds her authority in the house. It's telling that this towering, loquacious woman marginalizes her speechless, hatless husband throughout the film. The hat helps in her dominance, apparently.


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