Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Buccaneer (1938)

Director: Cecil B. DeMille

Starring: Fredric March, Franciska Gaal, Akim Tamiroff, Margot Grahame, Walter Brennan, Hugh Sothern, Ian Keith, Anthony Quinn

More Info: IMDb

Tagline: ....The thundering drama of the beloved rogue who saved a nation that swore to hang him!

Plot: A Cecil B. DeMille account of Louisiana's pirate-hero Jean Lafitte. It was he and his men who helped General Andrew Jackson with his troops defeat the British at The Battle of New Orleans. This was in exchange for a full pardon for him and his men after originally getting a price on his head from the Governor of Louisiana.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Sure.

Why aren't more films like this easily available? THE BUCCANEER is a really good movie with loads of action, humor and romance. Say, that reminds me. Franciska Gaal needs to have my Dutch babies!

Fredric March is outstanding as the titular character. He was so good I would have never guessed it was him based on the other movies I've seen him in. And Cecil B. DeMille! WOW. I'm impressed. Outside of being forced to watch THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) as a kid, this is the only flick of his I've seen. I figured him for heavy-handed drama rather than the action adventure seen here. Beats me where I got that misconception.

It was neat seeing Anthony Quinn in a minor role and looking so young. Geez.

Akim Tamiroff (a real, live Russkie) as Lafitte's right hand man was a lot of fun. He brings a good deal of the humor along with the deliciously adorable Franciska Gaal. She's too cute for words so I'm not even going to try.


Hugh Sothern was fun as 'ole Andrew Jackson as was his sidekick Ezra Peavey played by the great Walter Brennan doing his best Walter Brennan impersonation.

Wow. I'm talking so much about the performances but it's that kind of picture. The sets are rich and lavish, the special effects are great, the story is fun (if a little too lighthearted, but hey) and satisfying and it's clearly made by master craftsmen. The IMDb trivia states that the cast and crew totaled more than 10,000 people. That seems rather bloated but this is a DeMille picture, after all. Regardless of his excesses, he delivered a very fine movie that's a real treat to watch. Man, I'd sure dig seeing movies like this on the big screen.

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