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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Spoof > Pirates > Treasure > Abbott & Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952/Warner Archive DVD)

Abbott & Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952/Warner Archive DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: D     Film: C+



PLEASE NOTE: This release is only available from Warner Bros. in their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



Though Universal is the studio Bud Abbott & Lou Costello did much of their work, being a smaller company at the time had its limits.   When they wanted to make Abbott & Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952) in color, Universal would not pay for it, so their ability to do an annual film independently led them to Warner Bros. and with Charles Laughton sending up his performance in his 1945 Captain Kidd film (reviewed elsewhere on this site), you can see why they wanted color when working with the Academy Award winner.


A treasure is involved and our duo are just trying to get buy when their restaurant job brings them in contact with the violent slave-driver who is very demanding of perfection during his dinner.  Puddin’ Head (Costello) has a love letter to give to a good friend of his from a beautiful woman in a protective wooden casing, but Kidd has a similar casing holding the map to buried treasure.  During dinner, our nervous waiter (Kidd has been sending back injured servers with the food!) mixes up the two and the wackiness gets wackier as Kidd will do anything to get the map and the treasure.


Laughton is really good sending himself up (with shades of his work in the 1935 Mutiny On The Bounty, now on Blu-ray and also reviewed on this site) and this is a film built around him as much as Bud & Lou, not unlike their monster send-ups.  Some jokes work better than others, but this holds up well, even in the face of Johnny Depp’s Pirate action comedies.  Some of it is charming, other parts dated, with the passable musical numbers in an otherwise non-musical film.  However, all is meant to be entertaining and there is more than enough here as the film is nearly 60 years old to see it again or see it for the first time if you missed it.  It has chemistry, is an ambitious production and a real color film from the most successful comedy team of the sound film era.



The 1.33 X 1 color image has some flaws and softness, but looks decent for its age.  It was also a rare film in that it was produced in a format known as Super CineColor, an attempt of the CineColor Company to compete with three-strip dye-transfer Technicolor in the quickly growing color film marketplace.  CineColor was always the lesser two-color format and one Warner used on some of their animated shorts to cut costs; a Technicolor short would also be issued in cheaper, poorer CineColor copies to save money.  The result was not the wide range Technicolor offered and the process was not as sharp, using EastmanColor stocks which were sharper on their own processed the new single-strip way, though EastmanColor was no match for a Technicolor print.  The result is a rare feature film in the format with its own look and feel, making this film more unique.  It has been decades since I have seen the film and this is the best I have seen it in years.


The Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono can also show its age with some rough spots and distortion, plus it seems to be at a slightly lower volume than expected.  There are sadly no extras, I wished for a trailer at least.



For more Abbott & Costello from Warner Bros., try this box set The Classic Comedy Teams Collection:





Here’s a You Tube clip to Abbott & Costello Meet Captain Kidd:





To order Abbott & Costello Meet Captain Kidd, go to this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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