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THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE

Once upon a time there was a comedian named Bob Hope, and boy was this guy funny... Anyway, if your old enough to remember Bob Hope classics from the days of yore, or if you are amongst the uninitiated, THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE ($25) is a great way to appreciate the legendary comedian on DVD. Paramount Pictures was Bob Hope's usual studio, however Samuel Goldwyn borrowed Hope from Paramount and ended up creating one of the comedians most hilarious outings. THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE is a total send-up of the swashbuckling pirate genre, with Hope utilizing his patented cowardly persona for the film's high seas escapist fun. In THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE Hope portrays Sylvester the Great, a ham Vaudeville entertainer forced into making his American debut- in other words he has to go somewhere where no one has ever heard of him.

On the trip over to the New World, the infamous pirate known as The Hook (Victor McLaglen) shanghais the ship Sylvester is traveling on. While pirates are normally drawn to gold and precious stones, the treasure that The Hook is seeking comes in the form of the beautiful Princess Margaret (Virginia Mayo). Sylvester the Coward is able to escape from The Hook by hiding behind a woman's skirts, however he does redeem himself by taking Princess Margaret with him. Unfortunately, it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for both Sylvester and the Princess, with the duo quickly finding themselves in the clutches of The Hook's accomplice La Roche (Walter Slezak). While the plot sounds heavy-handed, everything is played for laughs- after all; this is a Bob Hope movie. Hope is an absolute scream as Sylvester; Mayo is both beautiful and funny as Princess Margaret, and McLaglen gets his share of laughs by overplaying it as The Hook. The cast of THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE also features a scene stealing performance from Walter Brennan as the daft pirate Featherhead- who actually is a lot smarter than he looks. One final thing, keep your eyes out for a certain bit player from Paramount, who manages to get the last laugh on Hope.

HBO Home Video has done a nice job with THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE. The DVD comes fairly close to the look of an original IB Technicolor print, however the film element does show modest signs of age. Film grain in noticeable in a couple of places, but the image is usually sharp and pleasing. Colors are very vibrant, nevertheless they don't demonstrate any significant problems with bleeding or chroma noise. Digital compression artifacts are a non-issue on this smartly authored DVD.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is relatively free from distortion and a re-mixed Chase Surround track has also been made available on the DVD. While the re-mixed soundtrack is somewhat artificial sounding, it does afford the track a bit of depth that isn’t available in straight monaural. French, Spanish and Italian language soundtracks are also available on the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus are somewhat basic in their approach, but make up for their limitations by being nicely designed. Through the menus one can access the standard scene and language selection features, as well as a theatrical trailer, plus cast biographies/filmographies.

 
THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE 



 

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DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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