The Princess and the Pirate (1944)

92 or 94-95 mins | Comedy, Swashbuckler | 1944

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Sylvester, The Great, Treasure Chest and The Mad Pirate . According to Jun and Aug 1941 HR news items, Fred Astaire was considered for a starring role opposite Bob Hope, and Sy Bartlett, Niven Busch and Norman Panama were originally slated to collaborate on the screenplay with Melvin Frank. Only Bartlett received screen credit, and the contribution of the other writers, if any, has not been determined. Later 1941 items cite Sam Wood as a possible director, and Nat Perrin as another possible writer. In Mar 1944, Constance Dowling was announced as Hope's female co-star.
       A May 1944 HR news item lists Art Foster as a member of the film's cast, but his appearance in the final film cannot be confirmed. In Apr 1944, HR reported that Hope's character was to be named "Sylvester Crosby" as a nod to Bing Crosby's uncredited appearance at the end of the film as the "commoner" but Hope is only called "Sylvester" in the film. Studio promotional materials asked reviewers not to reveal the film's ending, and not to review the picture until its release in Nov 1944. The film received Academy Award nominations in the Art Direction (Color) and Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Sylvester, The Great, Treasure Chest and The Mad Pirate . According to Jun and Aug 1941 HR news items, Fred Astaire was considered for a starring role opposite Bob Hope, and Sy Bartlett, Niven Busch and Norman Panama were originally slated to collaborate on the screenplay with Melvin Frank. Only Bartlett received screen credit, and the contribution of the other writers, if any, has not been determined. Later 1941 items cite Sam Wood as a possible director, and Nat Perrin as another possible writer. In Mar 1944, Constance Dowling was announced as Hope's female co-star.
       A May 1944 HR news item lists Art Foster as a member of the film's cast, but his appearance in the final film cannot be confirmed. In Apr 1944, HR reported that Hope's character was to be named "Sylvester Crosby" as a nod to Bing Crosby's uncredited appearance at the end of the film as the "commoner" but Hope is only called "Sylvester" in the film. Studio promotional materials asked reviewers not to reveal the film's ending, and not to review the picture until its release in Nov 1944. The film received Academy Award nominations in the Art Direction (Color) and Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) categories. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Oct 1944.
---
Daily Variety
11 Oct 44
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 Oct 44
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 44
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Apr 44
p. 1, 4
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 44
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 44
p. 26.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 44
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 44
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
13 May 44
pp. 1899-90.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Oct 44
p. 2137.
New York Times
10 Feb 45
p. 16.
Variety
11 Oct 44
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Suggested by a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art consultant
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
SOUND
Re-rec and eff mixer
Mus mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Kiss Me in the Moonlight," words and music by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Sylvester, the Great
Treasure Chest
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 17 November 1944
Production Date:
12 April--late June 1944
Copyright Claimant:
Regent Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 November 1944
Copyright Number:
LP12987
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
92 or 94-95
Length(in feet):
8,479
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10211
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The infamous 18th century pirate The Hook, so named for the iron claw he wears in place of his missing hand, buries his treasure, hides the only map to the site, and prepares to abduct Princess Margaret, who is running away from her father in order to marry a commoner. On board the princess' ship, meanwhile, Margaret visits the man next door, a ham actor who calls himself The Great Sylvester, to insist that he stop making so much noise while rehearsing. Later, Sylvester, not realizing who Margaret is, tries to impress her with his press clippings but instead repels her with his cowardice when The Hook attacks their ship. After disguising himself as a gypsy woman, Sylvester is brought aboard the pirate ship as a prisoner, along with Margaret. There, he is saved from murder by the deranged ship's tattooer, Featherhead, who wants the gyspy "woman" as his love slave. When Sylvester reveals his sex, Featherhead decides to double-cross The Hook by stealing the treasure map and forcing Sylvester to smuggle it to his cousin on a nearby island. Before disembarking the pirate ship, Sylvester stops to rescue Margaret, thus winning her approval, but does not believe her when she tells him who she is. After days of sailing on the dinghy Featherhead prepared for them, they reach the sinister island on which Featherhead's cousin lives, but upon discovering he is away for two weeks, are forced to rent a room. Acts of murder and vice occur all around them, and when Sylvester attempts to launch a cabaret act to earn money, only Margaret's lovely figure saves them from death. One audience member, however, the corrupt governor, La ... +


The infamous 18th century pirate The Hook, so named for the iron claw he wears in place of his missing hand, buries his treasure, hides the only map to the site, and prepares to abduct Princess Margaret, who is running away from her father in order to marry a commoner. On board the princess' ship, meanwhile, Margaret visits the man next door, a ham actor who calls himself The Great Sylvester, to insist that he stop making so much noise while rehearsing. Later, Sylvester, not realizing who Margaret is, tries to impress her with his press clippings but instead repels her with his cowardice when The Hook attacks their ship. After disguising himself as a gypsy woman, Sylvester is brought aboard the pirate ship as a prisoner, along with Margaret. There, he is saved from murder by the deranged ship's tattooer, Featherhead, who wants the gyspy "woman" as his love slave. When Sylvester reveals his sex, Featherhead decides to double-cross The Hook by stealing the treasure map and forcing Sylvester to smuggle it to his cousin on a nearby island. Before disembarking the pirate ship, Sylvester stops to rescue Margaret, thus winning her approval, but does not believe her when she tells him who she is. After days of sailing on the dinghy Featherhead prepared for them, they reach the sinister island on which Featherhead's cousin lives, but upon discovering he is away for two weeks, are forced to rent a room. Acts of murder and vice occur all around them, and when Sylvester attempts to launch a cabaret act to earn money, only Margaret's lovely figure saves them from death. One audience member, however, the corrupt governor, La Roche, recognizes her and abducts her to his palace. Unaware of La Roche's involvement, Sylvester appeals to him for help, but La Roche assumes Sylvester is the man Margaret has run away to marry and kidnaps him, as well, for ransom. In the palace, the couple is treated well but kept under watch when Margaret attempts a hunger strike. One morning, as Sylvester dines with La Roche, The Hook, La Roche's secret partner, arrives to discuss his plans to find and kill the person who stole the treasure map. When Sylvester rushes to his room to destroy the map, Featherhead leaps out from under the bed, knocks him out and tattoos the map to Sylvester's chest while he is still unconscious. That night, Sylvester discovers the tattoo as he prepares to swim with the governor, and fails to hide it from La Roche and The Hook. During the ensuing chase, he knocks out The Hook, steals his clothes and boards the pirate ship disguised as the pirate. Soon, however, The Hook awakens, boards, and places Sylvester and Margaret in the dungeon. Just as Margaret is about to shoot Sylvester out of mercy, her father's troops board the ship and rescue them. Margaret discusses her beloved, and although Sylvester thinks he will be the lucky man, she instead rushes into the arms of a soldier. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.