Burt Lancaster plays a pirate with a taste for intrigue and acrobatics who involves himself in the goings on of a revolution in the Caribbean in the late 1700s. A light hearted adventure ... See full summary »
LaRochelle, a former pirate captain, is caught by the British. To get his ship back, he works as a spy against other pirates, first of all Blackbeard and Providence. He works on some ships, crossing the Caribbean sea, with the intention of being enchained, when a pirate ship is in sight, to make them believe he's an enemy of the British. One day, his ship is conquered by Captain Providence. What nobody knew before, Providence is a (beautiful, of course) woman. She believes his story and so he joins her crew. But Blackbeard, her fatherly friend, doesn't believe him. Providence and LaRochelle fall in love, although he is married. When LaRochelle tries to deliver her to the British, she forebodes the trap, kidnaps his wife and escapes. As for revenge, she wants to sell his wife on a slave-market. LaRochell gets his ship and his crew back and follows her. ... Written by
Christian Wenger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During his pursuit of the Sheba Queen Capt LaRochelle addresses his grumbling crew. The close up of him shows his neckerchief in a very different position to that shown in the fuller length shots immediately before and after. See more »
Captain Pierre François LaRochelle:
I've worn irons. I've been spreadeagled and flogged. I've been under the cutlass of Blackbeard himself. And called red-handed cutthroats my friends. And stood by and watched murders and worse. And that's not all.
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This is one of several period sea-faring yarns of its era, which has the added distinction (although not in itself unique) of a female buccaneer at its center. At first, both leads – Jean Peters and Louis Jourdan – might seem miscast but they grow nicely into their roles eventually, thanks no doubt to the talented players (Herbert Marshall, Thomas Gomez and James Robertson Justice) who support them. Velvety-voiced Marshall is uncharacteristically cast as the ship’s obligatory philosophical lush of a doctor, and Gomez is suitably larger-than-life as Blackbeard The Pirate.
The cast is completed by Debra Paget as Jourdan’s wife, who incurs the jealous rage of the tomboyish titular character in whom Jourdan instills the first pangs of love (which, however, does not spare him the occasional flogging or sword-wound); incidentally, the film was the second exotic teaming of Jourdan and Paget in one year, following Delmer Daves’ BIRD OF PARADISE. The direct result of this unexpected softening of Anne’s character is her falling out with Blackbeard’s crew, and her unlikely climactic sacrifice in order to save the lives of the stranded Jourdan, Paget and Marshall.
While the film is not a particularly outstanding example of its type, Jacques Tourneur’s energetic direction and Franz Waxman’s grandiose score ensure an above-average effort that moves along at a brisk pace; incidentally, Tourneur had already done service in the genre with the superior Burt Lancaster vehicle, THE FLAME AND THE ARROW (1950). As usual with vintage Technicolor productions, the cinematography gives the film a sumptuousness that is invigorating. By the way, differing running-times are given for this film (81 or 87 minutes) and, for the record, the version I watched was the shorter one.
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