THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE
1983, Universal, 112 min, Dir: Wilford Leach

Much of producer Joseph Papp’s 1981 Broadway cast – including Rex Smith, Linda Ronstadt and Tony winner Kevin Kline – reprise their roles in this magical big screen adaptation of the beloved Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera. Angela Lansbury joins them as Ruth, the nursemaid who entrusts Frederic (Smith) to the Pirate King (Kline) until his 21st birthday, at which point Frederic meets and falls in love with the beautiful Mabel Stanley (Ronstadt) – but leaving the Pirates of Penzance proves trickier than he anticipated.


THE LAST UNICORN
1982, Conlan Press, 92 min, USA, Dir: Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass

While directors Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass are best known for their stop-motion TV specials, they also did traditional cel work, and the Japanese animation house they used here would go on to become Studio Ghibli. Adapted by Peter S. Beagle from his novel, this touching fantasy features the voices of Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Lee and Mia Farrow as the titular creature on a magic-filled quest to find others of her kind. With music by Jimmy Webb and soft-rock hitmakers America.


THE COMPANY OF WOLVES
1984, Park Circus/ITV, 93 min, UK, Dir: Neil Jordan

Director Neil Jordan’s first feature film is a charmingly phantasmagorical dream collage of werewolf lore, pitched somewhere between a creepy fairy tale and full-blown Hammer horror. A beguiling metaphor for sexual awakening and the loss of innocence, with an exceptional cast that includes Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, David Warner and Stephen Rea.


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