The Pirate and Camp

This entry is part 1 of 13 in the series Essays / Analyses.

Blogger Lucy Jean poses the question, “How does Vincente Minnelli’s The Pirate embody the sensibilities of camp?” She explains how a camp sensibility is translated into the film musical through set, costume and performance. Here’s an excerpt; read the entire piece on Lucy Jean’s blog, Enthusiasm.

The idea of performance, of “being-as-playing-a-role” is central to the sensibility of camp, and this is particularly prominent in the main song and dance sequences of ‘The Pirate’. Sexual desire is expressed through performance by both central characters, firstly by Gene Kelly as Serafin in the song ‘Nina’, and later in Judy Garland’s song, ‘Love of my Life’. The song ‘Nina’ starts with Kelly explaining to the men in the town the way he attracts women, before moving through the town seducing various girls, and finally ending up at a poster of himself, advertising his show. Kelly is performing his desire, but as an audience it is unclear to whom he is performing. Is the song for the men to whom he starts singing, to the women with whom he dances, or to the audience he wishes to entice to his show?


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