IMDb > Louisiana Story (1948)
Louisiana Story
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Louisiana Story (1948) More at IMDbPro »

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Louisiana Story -- The idyllic life of a young Cajun boy and his pet raccoon is disrupted when the tranquility of the bayou is broken by an oil well drilling near his home.
Louisiana Story -- This was documentary pioneer Robert Flaherty's last feature. Beautifully photographed as a documentary, it was actually sponsored by an oil company to show how oil drilling can co-exist in a pristine bayou. The story follows a young cajun boy (Boudreaux) and his parents, who live in the bayou alongside a giant oil derrick. The boy is worried by the noise of the machines, but the oil workers give him a tour of their jobs, showing the benefits of the oil company and promise to leave the bayou unscathed when they leave. Nominated for an Academy Award for writing. Flaherty is most famous for his documentaries, "Nanook of the North" and "Man of Aran."


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Frances H. Flaherty (original screenplay)
Robert J. Flaherty (original screenplay)
View company contact information for Louisiana Story on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 October 1948 (France) See more »
The idyllic life of a young Cajun boy and his pet raccoon is disrupted when the tranquility of the bayou is broken by an oil well drilling near his home. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A beautiful black and white film See more (10 total) »


  (in credits order)
Joseph Boudreaux ... The Boy
Lionel Le Blanc ... His Father
E. Bienvenu ... His Mother (as Mrs. E. Bienvenu)
Frank Hardy ... The Driller
C.P. Guedry ... The Boilerman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Oscar J. Yarborough ... Oil Company Lessor

Directed by
Robert J. Flaherty  (as Robert Flaherty)
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Frances H. Flaherty  original screenplay (as Frances Flaherty)
Robert J. Flaherty  original screenplay (as Robert Flaherty)

Produced by
Helen van Dongen .... associate producer
Robert J. Flaherty .... producer (as Robert Flaherty)
Richard Leacock .... associate producer
Original Music by
Virgil Thomson 
Cinematography by
Richard Leacock 
Film Editing by
Helen van Dongen 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Serge Roullet .... assistant director
Sound Department
Benjamin Doniger .... sound recordist
Leonard Stark .... sound recordist
Dick Vorisek .... sound re-recording mixer
Editorial Department
Ralph Rosenblum .... assistant editor
Music Department
Henry Brant .... music technical assistant
Bob Fine .... music recordist
Eugene Ormandy .... musical director

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Cajun" - USA (reissue title)
See more »
78 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Did You Know?

This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1994.See more »
Continuity: In the opening sequence, when The Boy first spots the raccoon, his hair is neat. Then it's mussed. Then it's neat again.See more »
Movie Connections:
Louisiana StorySee more »


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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
A beautiful black and white film, 25 September 2006
Author: bandw from Boulder, CO

If you appreciate black and white cinematography, then you will delight in seeing the restored version of this movie on DVD. Cinematographer Richard Leacock and director Flaherty have teamed up to be the Ansel Adams of the film world. This is one of the most cinematic of films - its power and magic lie in the poetry of the images. The score by Virgil Thomson deserved its Pulitzer Prize for music in 1949; it receives a first class performance here by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy.

Some have commented on the weak story, but I rather enjoyed it - it could be billed as "Huckleberry Finn meets Standard Oil." The story is told through the eyes of a young Cajun who lives with his grandfather and mother in a simple cabin in the Louisiana marshland. In the opening shots we see the boy exploring the bayous in his canoe with his pet raccoon. He has an elemental bond with his natural environment that made me jealous. The boy's grandfather signs a lease allowing Humble Oil to drill a wildcat well on the bayou near his cabin. We share the boy's wonder at seeing the oil derrick being floated into position and his excitement in being invited onto the rig to follow the drilling up close.

From the viewpoint of a more environmentally conscious time some sixty years later, the benevolent portrayal of the oil industry seems a bit quaint, but that a young boy should be fascinated by the process seems genuine, in any era. In fact I found the details on the drilling captivating, particularly the way those scenes were filmed as a ballet with the roustabouts moving to the rhythms of their work accompanied by the clanking of pipes and chugging of engines.

I had a problem with how delighted the grandfather and mother were at being able just to buy a few gifts from the profits of oil having been struck on their land. While the company to whom they had leased their land was making mucho bucks, it looks like the family got a few hundred dollars. Given the fact that this movie was commissioned by Standard Oil, I am sure that it was not the intent to make the company appear so greedy, but maybe that's one thing that hasn't changed in sixty years.

Joseph Boudreaux as the young boy is endearing and Lionel Le Blanc is believable as the crusty grandfather. All the actors appear to be locals - this adds authenticity, but also presents a problem in that they are not greatly skilled when it comes to delivering their lines. But there is minimal dialog and what there is is hardly necessary as the music and images carry you along.

The DVD has several interesting extras, one of them being a reading of some letters from Richard Leacock (postmarked from Abbeville, Louisiana) to his wife during the long filming. In one letter he says that they ran across the twelve-year-old Boudreaux in a café in Cameron, Louisiana. He had an Acadian accent, had trapped with his father, could handle a Cajun pirogue, and had an infectious smile. They figured he was perfect for the part but, since he was born out of wedlock and under-aged, there were significant difficulties under Louisiana law to be worked out before he could be signed on. Leacock's letters are quite frank. In one he notes that there was buzz about the visit from the director of all Standard Oil public relations and that Flaherty did not like him, referring to him as "the old bastard."

This is a wonderful film in the literal sense of the word wonderful.

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