Frank Morgan received his second and final Oscar nomination for portraying Pirate in Tortilla Flat.
Frank Morgan plays Pirate who doesn't once go arrr, or have an eye patch or a peg leg. That is because his name just happens to be Pirate in this film, and I thought I would mention this misconception could use up some space in this review since there is not all that much to this performance. Pirate here is an old man in the village who loves dogs, has money and for some mysterious reason is saving up money. I will give Frank Morgan credit out of the actors attempting to be Mexican Americans he probably does the best. This is not to say Frank Morgan is in anyway authentic, but hey he is most certainly much more believable than Spencer Tracy doing basically a reprise of his Captains Courageous accent.
Frank Morgan portrays Pirate sweetly enough who loves his dogs so much that he has saved up a great deal of money just to by a golden candle for remembrance of one of his former dogs. Pirate's story of wanting to save money for this candle and give to a church for Saint Francis is far more interesting and moving than anything else in the film. The only problem is well anything will look pretty good when compared to the rest of the film which is quite bad. It is not that the story is really incredible, or even all that interesting but at least there is something moving about Pirate's rather simple story. Frank Morgan though might have just too easy of a time being the best thing about this film, especially when compared to the inconsistency of Tracy, and the the obnoxiousness of John Garfield.
I really am in a bit of a spot because I do not want to be too hard on Morgan as he is fine in the role, but I really do not want to be too easy on him since the reason he sticks out in the film is mainly because of the lackluster quality of his surroundings. Morgan does put a great deal of heart in his performance showing the genuine love he has for his dogs that is unwavering. It is a nice tender performance of a nice tender character. He is not particularly complicated his main facet is just his love for his dogs, and later his joy when he is told he has friends besides just his dogs. Morgan does realize this main facet quite well though, and I certainly did care for his character unlike the rest of the film's characters. This is not anything amazing but I must say Morgan did steal the movie so he should be given credit for that, but not too much credit I guess.