The Pirate

In every era of film, there have been can’t-miss packages of actors and material that, either through bad luck or bungling, end up onscreen as unwieldly duds. This generation has Dreamgirls, and musical fans of the 1940s had The Pirate, a romantic comedy/fantasy starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. In a Caribbean town of indefinite year and most definite affinity for giant hats, Kelly plays an itinerant actor who pretends to be a legendary pirate in order to woo an engaged dreamer (Garland). Kelly almost single-handedly saves the show—his “Be a Clown” number is an acrobatic marvel—but Garland was in full nervous-breakdown mode by this time, and missed most of the shoot due to illness. The result is an intriguing effort undermined by its uneven tone and uninteresting lead characters.