The Beggar's Opera (1953)

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Laurence Olivier makes his singing debut in this lively adaptation of John Gay's 18th century theatrical piece The Beggar's Opera. Olivier stars as Captain MacHeath, the leader of all bandits and cutthroats in England. MacHeath is in love with Polly Peachum (Dorothy Tutin), the daughter of beggar king Peachum (George Devine). He has also dallied with Lucy (Daphne Anderson), the offspring of corrupt constable (Stanley Holloway) Lockit. Since it is in the best interest for both Peachum and Lockit to rid the world of MacHeath, the two conspire to imprison and hang the scoundrel, but an unexpected turn of events rescues MacHeath from the executioner's noose. Adapted for the screen by Dennis Canaan and Christopher Fry, The Beggar's Opera manages to retain the raffish charm of the stage original while still being wholly cinematic in approach and execution. The same basic story was later retooled by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill as The Threepenny Opera. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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