Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd – DVD Review

After Abbott and Costello met Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolf Man in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, the movie going public craved to see the duo encounter numerous other infamous names. It revitalized their career as they meet Brois Karloff, and the Invisible Man. The duo took a step back in time and onto a pirate ship for Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd. How would they stand up to the most bloodthirsty man to sail the seven seas? Don’t expect a brutal portrait of pirate life since there are plenty of musical numbers with Kidd’s crew.

Abbott and Costello work in the kitchen of Death’s Head Tavern where Captain Kidd (Charles Laughton) dines with the female pirate Captain Bonney (Hillary Brooke). She agrees to join Kidd on Skull Island to collect a debt. He has the secret treasure map which isn’t secure enough for Costello to swap it out for a love letter he was supposed to give to Bill Shirley from Fran Warren. Things get more confusing as Abbott and Costello get dragged onto Kidd’s boat. They need to provide the treasure map of they’ll walk the plank. Will only their heads make it to Skull Island? Can the singing crew calm down Kidd before he loses it with Costello’s nonsense.

Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd is rather short so it never gets bogged down like the last two Pirates of the Caribbean flicks. They cram plenty into the barely hour long adventure. The duo perform their well timed schtick without looking rushed. Laughton had already played the famous pirate in Captain Kidd nearly seven years before. Laughton works well with them as he plays off Costello’s antics. Laughton saves his best comic moments for Captain Bonney. He wishes he had better coverage in the London papers. The swashbuckling action scenes provide plenty of sword play. The romantic angle is handled by Warren and Shirley as they sing loving duets. During a few musical numbers a singer sounds like the legendary Thurl Ravenscroft who sang “A Pirates Life for Me” for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. The one thing that can be confirmed is that Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd is more fun than being flogged at the mast.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. In order to truly give a colorful tale, they made the film in Super Cine Color. This process wasn’t as glorious as Technicolor. The film is in presentable shape. The audio is mono. The levels are fine. The mix is more focused on the music than any true effects of a ship at sea.


Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd is an enjoyable comic sea romp with musical numbers. It feels like a mini-opera without any musical numbers from Abbott, Costello or Laughton. That’s a good thing. This is released as a Manufacture on Demand DVD-R from Warner Archive. Worth ordering for those who can’t get enough of Abbott and Costello’s routines as they meet famous names.

Warner Archive presents Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd. Directed by: Charles Lamont. Starring: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello and Charles Laughton. Running Time: 70 minutes. Released on DVD: April 1, 2011. Available at Warner Archive.

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