At the time ,Gerard Barray was the actor they hired when they were not able to get Jean Marais (who had left the swashbuckler genre for the broader horizons of the cloak and dagger anyway).Barray ,who was also a stage actor,had plenty of go and was par excellence the handsome dashing hero.(the two "Pardaillan" movies are today still watchable because of him) Surcouf was certainly much less handsome than Barray,if we look at his picture ,but he had an eventful life ,probably the greatest corsair France ever had ;at the end of his life,probably of cancer (1828) ,he was wealthy (and generous) .His wife Marie-Catherine gave birth to numerous children;like in the movie,she came from a rich family from Saint-Malo but the evil jealous rival (who provides the movie with its villain) was made from start to finish by the screenwriters .Genevieve Casile ,who plays Marie-Catherine ,a wasted part,was mainly a stage actress (notably Corneille's "Le Cid" ) That said, in spite of two sea battles ,the screenplay fails to excite me ;as the precedent user noticed,this is a fairly uninteresting mission and Surcouf's second love interest (Antonella Lualdi ,an Italian beauty cast as an English high born lady ) is decorative at best .Josephine,Premier Consul Napoleon's first wife ,makes a "guest " appearance .
Surcouf's triangular trade activities are wisely passed over in silence ,for the movie was primarily aimed at the children's market.
There's a stodgy song by the Compagnons De La Chanson ,inspired by an old sailor folksong ,which was watered-down (the word "s......" was replaced by the harmless "zut".
The movie was a commercial success and spawned a sequel.
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