The Dancing Pirate
THE DANCING PIRATE. 1936

Director: Lloyd Corrigan

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



The Dancing Pirate Charles Collins stars in The Dancing Pirate (1936) as dance instructor Jonathan Price of Boston, having a lovely smile & a jaunty attitude, but no character depth worth noting.

While walking about the Boston streets he gets bonked on the head & shanghaied to a pirate ship, the Bouncing Bess.

Sailing around South America & up the coast to California, he jumps ship. The little Spanish Californian village of Las Palomas is scared to death that pirates have come to their shores.

The pirates just got water then left, never even realizing there was a town over the rise. Still, when our hero saunters into the village, he's assumed to be the vanguard of a siege, & suffers a comedy assault from the whole frightened village.

The acting is barely passable & as a musical, the producer was just too cheap to obtain more than a couple Rogers & Hart tunes. When our hero is going lightheartedly to be hanged by the neck until dead, he does a tapdance routine on the gallows, trying to prove he's a dance master & not a pirate.

The Dancing PirateSerafina he pretty senorita (Steffi Duna) sings "No no, that would be too much bliss," then dances with castanets to a Mexican song of California, in Spanish. A big castanet dance circles the village square & our hero sings "When You're Dancing the Waltz."

Don Baltazar (Victor Varconi), the captain from Monterey, wants to take the dancer away as a pirate, thereby getting rid of competition for the seniorita. The women conspire to save the dance master.

They village maidens fail, as Don Baltazar has been completely won over the village's mayor & father of Serafina, Don Perena (Frank Morgan, who was the wizard in The Wizard of Oz). So to save his innocent ass, he comes up with his own plan, aided by an abused Indian (William V. Mong).

His Indian sidekick comes from such a peaceful tribe that they're useless in a pinch. Our hero has to teach them to wardance before attacking the village to save Seraphina from having to marry the evil Captain Balthazar. Offensiveness toward Native Americans is fobbed off as comedy.

As a family film it's all silly rather than suspenseful so as not to scare the kiddies. Our dance master will defeat Balthazar's swordplay with a bloodless dance. There'll be a final Spanish dance sequence of merriment & the hero & heroine destined to live happily ever after.

This perfectly dreadful story is based on a better one written by Emma-Lindsay Squier, who based her story on more-or-less true events involving the first Yankee resident of Spanish California. See the article Emma-Lindsay Squier & the Dancing Pirate if you can stand to read even more about an inconsequential Technicolor film.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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