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Anne of the Indies is one of my favourite movies.On my point of view,the
central theme is the impossibility for a woman to live her own identity as
woman.She is trapped in a male identity,being grown up under Blackbeard's
school: sword,ships and pirates.
When she falls in love for the first time,she is unable to express female feelings she feels.She almost ridiculise herself for her love,a new experience,and her own humiliation is exceptionally well acted by Jean Peters.Her desperation became more evident as the film goes on,above all when she has to admit herself her own sorrow after having been betrayed (this betrayal is a terrible event which destroys her under-construction female identity) and she is forced to admit her own weakness she has always tried to hide with a splendid use of her sword. The final scene with Blackbeard planting his sword on the ship floor is fantastic,because he does just the same act that every person who understand the dramatic situation of Anne-Captain Providence would have done.
I find this a marvellous movie,almost perfect:the only scene I don't like too much is the very last,when the name of her ship is cancelled from the register of outlaw ships:on my point of view,Tourneur made an error to show her again.It would have been more effective if the last time we look at her was just when she cries to Blackbeard "Come and take me,old pirate"(I base myself on the italian dubbing).
A moving film,which reminds me of the powerful acting of equally desperate Ella Raines in "Tall in the Saddle".
Directed by Jacques Tourneur (Cat People, Out of the Past, Night of the
Demon) and written by Phillip Dunne (How Green was My Valley) Anne of the
Indies is a quite interesting adventure pirate movie. Its main character
captain Anne Providence is based on a real woman-pirate Anne Boney who
actually lived and sailed through 18th century's Atlantic.
The film begins with the sea battle where Anne's (Jean Peters) pirate ship attacks a trade ship that was on its way to Europe from the South America. As a result a treasure of great value is captured along with a handsome French officer Pierre La Rochelle (Louis Jourdan), who is taken prisoner. Anne ends up falling in love with him and apparently her feelings are reciprocated but it's only till she sets him free when she discovers that he has a beautiful young wife Molly (Debra Paget) with whom he pretty much in love with. Anne begins planning revenge on both of them but in an unexpected twist of fate ends up making a great sacrifice in order to save them instead. The pirate movie cliché figure of `Black Beard' also makes his appearance here, this time played by Thomas Gomez.
Though Anne of the Indies probably appears to be no more nor less than a revisiting of pirate movie clichés, it still has its classical moments in beautiful visuals and sea battle sequences filmed in Technicolor as well as in some aspects of the story and most of all in personal touches in directing of all of it by Jacques Tourneur. 7/10
This movie was much better than I expected. ++++ Jean Peters actually does a passable job as a pirate and does decent work in her sword fights. (To the extent she may have a double doing the action, it's hard to tell...but Peters herself obviously is doing a good deal of it, and doing it well.) ++++ With a good and serious script, this could have been an excellent film. But it's basically cheesy. Still entertaining however. ++++ Not up to a regular Jacques Tournier film, but definitely above a regular Jean Peters film. Color is typical of this '50s time period, ie. too garish and not realistic. The actors for Blackbeard and her first mate and the drunken doctor were good. Louis Jordan was a bit weak. I don't think Debra Paget was right either. But certainly Jean Peters and Debra Paget were probably the two best looking female stars in the '50s.
I like the film, it´s the best pirate-movie I watched hitherto (forget
Errol-Flynn-stuff and Pirates of the Caribbean). This movie is wonderful
melancholic. I compare it with "Johnny Guitar" at the sea-side (but 3
earlier), two women fighting for a man, where mad love might lead one.
The character of the female (anti-) heroine, Anne Providence, is superb, acting without compromise like a child, lost alone on her search for a own female identity in a real man´s world. She´s a quite strange movie-hero, not a funny pirate, as most of her companions in this genre, not making jokes all the time, fighting for the poor and good and only killing the stupid spanish or british soldiers or - better - sly governors, but she´s murdering all the poor prisoners of war, after she captured a ship (look careful at this at the start of the movie), she´s primitive (she can´t even read), she is desperated and she get´s an alcoholic, she looses all her friends as consequence of her obstinacy and she´s wearing rags most of the film. This film shows a pirate "hero" a little (!) bit as he (or in this case "she", but there has been a female "Anne" buccaneer, Anne Boney) might have been in brutal reality.
The film is quite short and the story is told in a breathtaking manner. Certainly, a film from the 1950s has no exciting special effects for present time viewers (the ships swim very obvious in a bath tube), but this real drama about love (that kills), trust, betrayal, revenge, hatred and sacrifice drives one crazy. Maybe, Anne is even supposed to be Judas Iskarioth and Jesus from Nazareth in one person, being betrayed by her friend (the french LaRochelle) as Jesus; after being disappointed by the friend, delivering him to a death penalty (as Judas); than getting remorse about this (like Judas, who commits suicide according to the gospel of Matthew); and in the end sacrificing herself for the rescue of the beloved enemy (as Jesus). But, even if you are not interested in this philosophical questions of guilt and atonement, the film brings a lot of (cheap) action as sword fights and burning (plastic) ships for a very short one and a half hour.
WARNING : Please,DON'T READ this comment if you have never seen this movie,as it can reveal some crucial points of the plot,but I needed to speak about these points in order to express my idea.
Anne of the Indies is one of my favourite movies.On my point of view,the central theme is the impossibility for a woman to live her own identity as a woman.She is trapped in a male identity,being grown up under Blackbeard's school: sword,ships and pirates.
When she falls in love for the first time,she is unable to express female feelings she feels.She almost ridiculise herself for her love,a new experience,and her own humiliation is exceptionally well acted by Jean Peters.Her desperation became more evident as the film goes on,above all when she has to admit herself her own sorrow after having been betrayed(this betrayal is a terrible event which destroys her under-construction female identity) and she is forced to admit her own weakness she has always tried to hide with a splendid use of her sword.
The final scene with Blackbeard planting his sword on the ship floor is fantastic,because he does just the same act that every person who understand the dramatic situation of Anne-Captain Providence would have done.I find this a marvellous movie,almost perfect:the only scene I don't like too much is the very last,when the name of her ship is cancelled from the register of outlaw ships:on my point of view,Tourneur made an error to show her again.It would have been more effective if the last time we look at her was just when she cries to Blackbeard "Come and take me,old pirate"(I base myself on the italian dubbing).
A moving film,which reminds me of the powerful acting of equally desperate Ella Raines in "Tall in the Saddle".
In Anne of the Indies, and not for the first time, Jacques Tourneur
takes a fairly clichéd genre (a swashbuckling adventure film doesn't
seem particularly flexible) and moulded it to his whim. Other examples
include the lesbian subtext of Cat People and critique of populism in
And as with these two films, Anne of the Indies' genre bending and most of Tourneur's other semi-studio oddities, it works a charm.
This film is essentially a battle between the feminine and the masculine. Starring Jean Peters as the female-but-hardly pirate Captain Providence, Tourneur uses expectations of gender roles and genre to explore Providence's struggles with her sexual identity. In fact, she remains almost asexual - whilst she shows little interest in men, or only as sexual objects, she is similarly ambivalent (or downright hostile) to women, or "wenches".
Although the cinematography and lighting lacks the stylistic force that is inherent in so many of Tourneur's other films (Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie and Out of the Past most notably), the film is almost thematically flawless. Though these stylistic concerns are to the film's detriment, the script and Tourneur's ability to play strongly to subtle subtexts overcome such problems.
Fox must have had a lot of left-over sets from Tyrone Power's THE BLACK
SWAN (and a trunkfull of period costumes on hand) when they decided to
film ANNE OF THE INDIES. It provides JEAN PETERS with a flashy role as
a lady pirate (a la Ann Boney), but her swagger seems more like the
pose of a well-rehearsed actress willing to submit herself to a pirate
film totally lacking originality aside from starring a lady pirate.
All the clichés are here, including the black-hearted Blackbeard the Pirate (THOMAS GOMEZ) given the hammy, tongue-in-cheek style usually reserved for such an outgoing villain. This time the captive is not a beautiful woman but a handsome Frenchman (LOUIS JOURDAN) who, naturally, catches the eye of the tomboyish heroine and makes her wish she looked more like a woman. What she doesn't know is that he does indeed have a wife (DEBRA PAGET) who fills the role of conventional beauty nicely.
Some of it is actually fun to watch and it's a no-brainer that, given the standards of the 1950s, the ending will conclude the way it does. I like JEAN PETERS very much, but this is one role that would have served MAUREEN O'HARA better. O'Hara had a more convincing way with a sword and the fiery temperament to go with the role.
The usual trappings of a pirate movie are here: sailing ships,
Caribbean waters, firing cannons, powdered wigs, floggings, gold
doubloons, sailors with peg-legs and eye patches, damsels in distress,
etc. However, the captain of the pirate ship is a woman, which would
seem to provide an opportunity for a fresh slant on an old genre.
Unfortunately, Jean Peters seems uncomfortable in this part and her
"toughness" never becomes more than a pose. Also, in a concession to
the attitudes of the time, she isn't allowed to triumph but instead
must "pay" for her usurpation of a male role by moving aside for the
properly feminine Debra Paget. The result is a disappointingly
conventional affair which, nonetheless, still delivers a passable
hour-and-a-half of entertainment.
Like Jean Peters, Louis Jourdan seems miscast since his trademark brand of Continental charm and elegance doesn't fit a role that calls for a dashing athleticism. His physique also seems a bit too thin and pale to make him a suitable subject for a shirtless flogging -- perhaps the only flogging in mainstream movies in which the victim appears to be unconscious from beginning to end. (This scene ranks 95th in the book, "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies.")
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The legend of Anne Romney (here referred to as Anne Providence) has
recently been made into a short-lived Broadway musical, but in the
early 50's, there were two films about her which couldn't be any more
different in presentation. Universal's "Double Crossbones" features
Romney as a secondary character (played by the quite imposing looking
Hope Emerson) in support of Donald O'Connor. That was a
comedy/adventure, but for a more serious look at her, 20th Century Fox
cast their rising player Jean Peters as the legendary captain of the
Sheba Queen. Peters was much more diminutive than Emerson (best known
as the evil matron in "Caged"), so it makes a different character
altogether. But she is still as tough, trained by none other than
Blackbeard (Thomas Gomez in a very showy performance) to captain her
own ship. She is first seen in a sword fight with Blackbeard, revealed
only to be for fun. When Frenchman Louis Jourdan is about to be made to
walk the plank, Peters steps in to save his life, learning he is an
enemy of the British. It is her love for him (an enemy of Blackbeard's)
which causes her mentor to declare war on her, and she in turn,
declares war on Jourdan when she learns that he is married. Herbert
Marshall plays her drunken adviser who incurs her wrath when he
disapproves of her revenge on Jourdan and his wife (Debra Paget).
This is a colorful tale of the romanticism of pirate life that will delight fans of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series. Some parts of the movie, in fact, highly resemble the ride at Disney's Amusement Parks. From an entertainment point of view, the film works its magic and ranks a good review. Peters gives a lot of gusto to her portrayal, and Jourdan is romantic and handsome. Paget gets to be a bit more than decorative, and veteran actor Marshall gives a touching, wise performance. While the true story of Anne Romney may be quite different, this will do for a typical rousing Hollywood version of the legends of the high seas.
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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