Forget Pirates of the Caribbean. Forget musicals like My Fair Lady. My favorite swashbucklers don't have an Aerosmith swagger or terrible speech troubles. They hold their own against the very model of a modern major general. In 1980, theatrical producer and creator of the New York Shakespeare Festival Joseph Papp brought Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance to the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. It was so popular that it ended up making its way to Broadway, won a bunch of Tony Awards, sailed away to London, and then got turned into the film in 1983.

The movie starred Kevin Kline, Rex Smith, Linda Ronstadt, and Angela Lansbury, and detailed the life of Frederic (Smith), a boy who was supposed to become a pilot, until his hard-of-hearing nurse (Lansbury) misheard her instructions and apprenticed the kid to a pirate (Kline). On his 21st birthday, he's finally released, and soon falls for a saucy daughter (Ronstadt) of Major-General Stanley (George Rose), sparking a stand-off between the good Major-General and noble life and the swashbuckling ways of unlawful pirate life.

The feature is silly, wordy, and best of all, allows Kline to be charismatic, sexy, and whole lot more lively than most of his more recent work. After the jump, you can watch the excellent and most impressive "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General," and then:

Head over to SlashControl to watch The Pirates of Penzance!

Note: If you're curious about the stage production, a recording is available on DVD as well.