Trapped in the small Caribbean town of Calvado, Manuela (Judy Garland) dreams that the dashing pirate Black Macoco will come and sweep her off her feet but her Aunt Inez (Gladys Cooper) has promised her to Don Pedro Vargas (Walter Slezak), the mayor and richest man in town. Meanwhile, Serafin (Gene Kelly) and his band of performers arrive in the distant town of Port Sebastian. Travelling to Port Sebastian to pick up her wedding trousseau, Manuela meets Serafin, who falls in love with her at first glance, but she merely thinks he's an arrogant cad. Still, Manuela sneaks away that night to see Serafin and his troop perform. Using a spinning mirror, Serafin hypnotizes Manuela and she sings of the fabulous Black Macoco. When she awakes, Serafin tries to convince Manuela to join his group but she flees in terror and confusion. Unwilling to surrender so easily, Serafin follows Manuela back to Calvado. When he learns that Serafin is trying to steal his fiancé, Don Pedro confronts Serafin but Serafin recognizes Don Pedro as Black Macoco and threatens to tell everyone who he really is. However, Serafin realizes that telling Manuela that Don Pedro is Black Macoco will only make her love him, so he pretends to be Black Macoco, blackmailing Don Pedro into going along with his charade. At first, Serafin's plan works perfectly and he wins Manuela's heart but he begins to overplay his part, taking control of the town and threatening to destroy it if Manuela isn't brought to him. Things get worse when Don Pedro sees the opportunity to rid himself of his past and rides to the capital to fetch the militia so they can hang Serafin as Black Macoco. Manuela soon discovers that Serafin isn't really Black Macoco but also realizes that she loves him whether he's Black Macoco or not. Unfortunately, their happiness is interrupted when Don Pedro arrives with the Viceroy (George Zucco) and Serafin is arrested. At his trial, Serafin tries to hypnotize Don Pedro into telling the truth but Aunt Inez interferes and all looks lost for Serafin. However, realizing what's going on, Manuela pretends to be in a trance and begins singing the praises of Serafin as Black Macoco while belittling Don Pedro. Letting his ego get the better of him, Don Pedro flies into a rage and admits before the Viceroy and the assembled crowd that he is Black Macoco. The movie ends with Manuela joining Serafin's troop and the two living happily ever after.
Type of mind control: Hypnosis
Mind control scenes:
There's only one real mind control scene in this movie. That's when Serafin hypnotizes Manuela as part of his act and she sings about Black Macoco. There is a later scene when Manuela pretends to be hypnotized in order to goad Don Pedro into admitting that he is Black Macoco but she isn't really in a trance.
out of 5
This is an enjoyable movie and Judy Garland does a reasonably good job of acting like she's hypnotized but, with only one real mind control scene and another pretend mind control scene, don't bother watching the movie for the mind control alone.