The Princess and the Pirate (1944)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Comedy, Costume Adventure  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The Technicolor is glorious in The Princess and the Pirate, and the sets and costumes are quite lovely and lavish -- so who cares if the screenplay isn't any great shakes? Besides, this is a Bob Hope vehicle, so there's nothing really needed except a script that lets the star do his thing, right? If that's your thinking, Pirate will be right up your alley, and deservedly so. Hope is highlighted at every twist and turn, supplied with a ready string of one-liners and comebacks that may not always be gems but which Hope bats so well that they score much more often than they really deserve to. And though it's entirely his show, the star comic is aided by a delightful supporting cast. As his love interest, Virginia Mayo proves that she was made for sumptuous color photography. Walter Brennan is wildly amusing as an over-the-top pirate chum, and Victor McLaglen chews scenery in the most engaging fashion as the villainous pirate that sets things in motion. David Butler's direction is smooth and efficient, if not necessarily distinctive. But then there's that screenplay, which in addition to being slapdash and unconvincing, stops too often to allow the swashbuckling elements to come into play: it's not that kind of picture, and instead of just dropping them in and quickly moving on, a bit too much time is spent on them. Still, Pirate is an amusing way to pass the time.