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Pre-Order Pirates of Penzance (1983) (Blu-ray) Available for Preorder (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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cinemiracle

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You're referring to the Brent Walker series, and they weren't done by D'Oyly Carte (which I think had ceased to exist by that time). The original plan was to film the D'Oyly Carte performances, but Walker pulled out and opted to film the operettas without D'Oyly Carte participation (a few DOC veterans like Donald Adams do appear though). As a whole, they're a mixed lot with some being very good (Ruddigore, The Sorcerer), some mediocre (The Mikado, Iolanthe), and others unbelievably bad (HMS Pinafore). The casting at times was decidedly off-beat. In some cases, it worked wonderfully with the likes of Frank Gorshin and Vincent Price. However, it seemed like Frankie Howerd and Peter Marshall were competing for who was more deserving of the Razzie award with their work in HMS Pinafore. Still, I'm glad that the series was done.

For those interested, D'Oyly Carte did participate in a handful of film productions. The 1939 film of "The Mikado" sits somewhat in between a filmed stage production and a fully-thought out film adaptation. The 1966 film though is very much a filmed stage production. Some find it tedious to watch, but that's never been my experience. HMS Pinafore was filmed for a TV special in the 1970s, and again it's fun to view if you like the DOC performances. There's also an abridged animated version of Ruddigore for which the DOC provided a special soundtrack.

I remember seeing all the Gilbert and Sullivan shows on dvd or video many ,many years ago.Can't recall who filmed all the G&S musicals but they were mostly filmed with no care whatsoever. On one show, the cast were always looking directly into the camera and also banging into the sets. (Mikado or Pinafore,I seem to recall. Truly dreadful all round and I never bothered to keep any of them.
 

ajabrams

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That Brent Walker G&S series was truly abysmal. :thumbsdown:
I would agree that much of that series was abysmal but a handful of the productions were actually quite good. In particular PATIENCE
starring the outstanding Derek Hammond-Stroud as Bunthorne and Donald Adams as the Colonel. This was based on the wonderful ENO production and is very well done. Other good entries were THE SORCEROR with Clive Revill as a very effective J. W. Wells and another sterling performance by Mr. Adams. Also, hard to find, but absolutely worth it is the double bill of TRIAL BY JURY and COX AND BOX. The TBJ is enjoyable but the COX AND BOX is outstanding and very cleverly presented. And I have a lot of affection for the RUDDIGORE because it is so much fun to see Vincent Price as Sir Despard. Apart from these, most of the others entries in this series are indeed misfires, suffering variously from heavy cuts, woeful miscasting and bad direction.
 

cinemiracle

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The Australian Opera productions of The Mikado, Patience and The Gondoliers on DVD are well worth seeking out. Lovely productions and fine casting.

Especially THE MIKADO - It's a pity that the Australian Opera won't release their shows on bluray.
 

TJPC

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What is a pity is that these works that were wildly popular for over 100 years, only survive on video in bits and incomplete pieces. I went with friends to see the 1966 d’Oyly Carte film on the big screen.

I love Gilbert and Sullivan and had told everyone how funny and wonderful “The Milado” was. We all found the film absolutely dreadful and very tedious to sit through. It is absolutely deadly. What is the expression? You could hear crickets at the end. I was very embarrassed.
 

TJPC

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I loved the Broadway version with Patrick Cassidy in the title role. The film version with Kevin Kline is superb. Kline was also brilliant in ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY on Broadway .A pity that masterpiece of a musical was never filmed.

We actually saw Kevin Kline in it on Broadway at what would later become the Gershwin theatre. He was wonderful. Of course Linda Ronstadt was just not up to the part. There is a hilarious parody of her in this show on one of the early “Forbidden Broadway” CDs.
— where are my mikes, where are my mikes!
 

Arthur Powell

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What is a pity is that these works that were wildly popular for over 100 years, only survive on video in bits and incomplete pieces. I went with friends to see the 1966 d’Oyly Carte film on the big screen.

I love Gilbert and Sullivan and had told everyone how funny and wonderful “The Milado” was. We all found the film absolutely dreadful and very tedious to sit through. It is absolutely deadly. What is the expression? You could hear crickets at the end. I was very embarrassed.

As much as I like the 1966 film, it shows why you can't just point a camera to a theater stage and yell "Action" through the megaphone. For one thing, stage performers like John Reed really need an appreciative audience from which to draw energy, something that the comparatively sterile sound stage won't permit. It's still an interesting record, even if imperfect, of the D'Oyly Carte production during the latter part of the organization's existence, and it's nice to have some visual record of the performances of John Reed, Valerie Masterton, Kenneth Sandford, etc. If someone expressed interest in watching a Gilbert and Sullivan film, I would probably point him/her to the 1939 film first. While that film has its flaws, it does work better as a piece of cinema.

All of this just reminds me that I would love to see a blu-ray (or even a good DVD) of the 1953 film The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan. Yes, it's not exactly historically accurate (what film bio is supposed to be?), but Robert Morley and Maurice Evans give great performances.
 
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Arthur Powell

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I have been looking for that film for years. Didn’t the D’oyly Carte do all the excerpts?
Yes, D'Oyly Carte did participate so you get to see the likes of Martyn Green (playing George Grossmith) and Thomas Round performing throughout the film. At one time it was available for streaming (but not purchasing) on Amazon Prime, but it doesn't seem to be available at the moment.
 

Lord Dalek

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There is one benefit to the 1967 Mikado film. Its the only version we have of Reed and Sandford's full performance as the 72 studio recording left out the dialogue.
 

TJPC

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It’s a bit surprising, but if you can get ahold of the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society live recordings, from this period, you will find their entire series has complete dialogue, and many of the performers are very good. I purchased all the D’Olyly Carte sets, and suplimented these with the Michigan sets for complete dialogue.
 

RobertSiegel

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This is one of my all time favorite movies, and I have written Universal every week for 9 years for its blu-ray release. Before seeing this film, 12 times in the theater,I had never seen the operetta before. I fell in love with everything, including the sets,which are corny but in a great way. Angela Lansbury is incredible as Ruth, and the rest of the cast is excellent. I remember the day I received the pan and scan laserdisc,I must have watched it dozens of times and remember the channels were reversed on the audio.The soundtrack on this film is beautifully recorded, even the vocalists are in full stereo. Wherever they are on screen is where you hear them. I am so excited to see this in 1080p and with lossless audio. It will truly be one of my favorite blu-rays. Now PLEASE...Flower Drum Song, Thoroughly Modern Millis and Sweet Charity. The Kino insider says of their new deal with Universal there are 2 or 3 musicals, let's hope they are these.

When Pirates was released to theaters, Universal tested a pay per view with cable companies. The exhibitors revolted and most refused to book this film, so it showed in very few theaters. Otherwise I think it's box-office intake would have been much higher.
 

Kyrsten Brad

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Pirates of Penzance (1983) appears to be on hold. Got a approval request from Amazon a couple days ago asking if I still wanted the movie. I approved it so now I wait. Don’t have a release date at this time.

Can’t help but wonder if this movie is related to or has any connection to the Pirate Adventure Dinner Theater in Orlando,FL.
 

RobertSiegel

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Pirates of Penzance (1983) appears to be on hold. Got a approval request from Amazon a couple days ago asking if I still wanted the movie. I approved it so now I wait. Don’t have a release date at this time.

Can’t help but wonder if this movie is related to or has any connection to the Pirate Adventure Dinner Theater in Orlando,FL.

I also am waiting for the release. Every website seems to have a different date. This is one of my top 10 most wanted blu-rays, and it had to be the one to be delayed (apparently). I have written Universal and usually they do answer so if I get a response I'll post it here.
 

roxy1927

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Well I've always avoided this film and when people say that's it's the weakest of the three I'm glad I avoided it. I saw the original production twice in Central Park with the unsurpassable Ruth of Patricia Routledge and then twice when it played at the Uris.

In the Park it was certainly one of the most joyous things I've ever experienced in the musical theater. The audience was in an uncontained uproar. I mean that in a positive way. As mentioned too bad the live video was done so badly.
 

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