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Robert Siodmak's The Crimson Pirate (1952), starring and produced by Burt Lancaster, was one of a tiny group of Warner Bros. titles to appear as budget-priced laserdisc releases back in the late '80s. The DVD edition arrived in July 2003, looking better and costing still less. One of the most delightful movies in Burt Lancaster's entire output as an actor or producer, The Crimson Pirate has endured exceptionally well across 50 years by virtue of the fact that it is as good a pirate movie as it is a spoof of pirate movies -- in that regard, it's a lot like The Bride of Frankenstein and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, functioning on two levels (at least) in its appeal. On that basis alone, it's worth owning. As to the disc itself, it is a better product than the laserdisc was. Beyond the superiority of DVD playback, the digital video transfer has brought out the depth and richness of the gorgeous hues in this blazing costume romp, as well as all of the detail that there is to be derived from this late Technicolor release. The full-screen image (1.33:1) is of near demonstration quality, and there is a wealth of breathtaking detail to be discerned merely in the costumes of the players early on in the film, especially during the banquet scene. The focus can be slightly soft at times, but the brightness more than compensates for this small deficiency. The audio is somewhat more problematic -- the soundtrack has been mastered at a very low level, at least 50 percent softer than the volume one has come to expect from DVD releases of the early 2000s. Pumping up the volume reveals all of the nuances and richness of William Alwyn's score -- one of the most lighthearted pieces of music in the composer's entire output -- along with the many jokes woven into the script. The 26 chapter markers reflect a fair amount of attention paid to the production of the disc, and the makers have also included a short joint biography of Burt Lancaster and his longtime friend and co-star Nick Cravat, that is accessible in a three-layer menu. There are also French and Spanish subtitles and English captions available.