THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE offers those unfamiliar with the comic operas of Gilbert & Sullivan a fun and easy chance to wise-up. It takes some adjustment for the non-aficionado, and 112 minutes is a bit much, but the zestful handling puts it across.
Shot to resemble a play, the sets are stylized, the pace is swift. All five principal players are dandy: Kevin Kline, Angela Lansbury, Rex Smith, Linda Ronstadt and George Rose. Kline takes center stage with a marvelous send-up of a lusty rogue, and Cole delivers a show-stopping rendition of “I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General”.
Directed by Wilfred Leach, the 1983 film was dealt a grievous error when it was released to subscription TV at the same time as theatrical showings. Theaters boycotted it, it was only shown in just 92 altogether, and grossed a septic $694,000. Critical reception was positive. Good one to watch paired with Topsy Turvy. With Tony Azito and David Hatton.