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The Buccaneer


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Fredric March plays the swashbuckling pirate Jean Lafitte, operating of the coast of New Orleans, Lafitte and his thousand pirates plunder all passing ships for the wealth, but refuses to attack any vessel flying the American flag. Lafitte is offered a pardon by Andrew Jackson (Hugh Sothern), if he and his men fight by his side against the powerful British redcoats. As good as his word, Lafitte stands shoulder to shoulder with Jackson as they ward off the British at the Battle of New Orleans. Rescued from a sunken ship by Lafitte, Dutch maiden Gretchen (Franciska Gaal) falls madly in love with the dashing pirate, but he only has eyes for aristocratic Louisiana belle Annette (Margot Grahame), the daughter of Governor Claiborne (Douglass Dumbrille) who’s Lafitte’s arch nemesis. The stellar cast includes Akim Tamiroff, Walter Brennan and Anthony Quinn. Directed by the great Cecil B. DeMille who also produced a remake of The Buccaneer in 1958.

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Amazon.com: 20 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Big, loud, revisionist fun, De Mille style Dec 30 2012
By Brian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Cecil B. De Mille takes no prisoners with 1938's 'The Buccaneer,' his epic, revisionist slant on the War of 1812's Battle of New Orleans that does for that period what 'The Plainsman,' released the year prior, did for the wild west of the 1870s. Cast in the lead is versatile Fredric March as pirate-cum-patriot Jean Lafitte, who's nothing short of electrifying as he and his merry band of brigands seemingly singlehandedly (with some assistance from Gen. Andrew Jackson, et al) decide upstart-America's victory against those dastardly Redcoats. It is, in keeping with the De Mille tradition, a big, loud, kinetic, jingoistic production, turning history on its ear to fit its wholly Hollywoodized tale-telling; but it's also a highly entertaining-- and semi-factual-- combination of swashbuckling fun and canons-blazing romance that only the most humorless critic could disdain. 3 1/2 stars.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Rarely seen classic Jan. 9 2014
By P. Yermack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film was buried in a vault for years in deference to the 1958 remake.

I was surprised that Olive Films which released this print and charges higher end prices for their releases did not make some effort to restore the film. The print, though completely watchable, looks like a film neglected for decades with lots of dirt and scratches throughout. This is why it lost one star.

The other lost star is because of the lead actor, Fredric March, who plays Jean Lafitte like some cartoon "Lucky Pierre" cartoon character. His accent and overstated gesturing are cringe worthy. This is odd because he was one of the great actors of the golden age of movies. It seems that under directors like Mamoulian or Wyler or Wellman, he delivered sensitive realistic award worthy performances, but under deMille, he was left unrestrained (as were many other usually fine actors in other deMille epics) and was so hammy as to come off as comical.

All and all it's worth a look but don't expect a masterpiece.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great movie! Sept. 14 2013
By jean12 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great film! Great history Neat actors. Good photos! Costumes of that time period i find very interesting and imaginative I enjoyed this movie.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fredric March was a great Lafitte Jan. 14 2014
By Demosthenese - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had always been a huge fan of The Buccaneer with Charlton Heston as General Andrew Jackson and Yul Brynner as Jean Lafitte. I saw the earlier version on television a long while ago and then noticed it was out on DVD. I must say that I enjoyed the Fredric March version every bit as much as the remake. The video quality is sufficient, not great, but the movie is terrific. Some noticeable differences from the later version, but a great story line nevertheless. And yes, the British still get defeated at New Orleans....
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Vastly superior to the Brynner/Heston version Dec 31 2013
By RememberWhen - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The hero does act like a naïve oaf at times ( standing in the surf waving a flag while the US Navy blows his men and house to bits ) but you cant help cheering him on. The dialogue they gave him were at times simply brilliant ( love the speech he gives his men on why they should become Americans, and normally I puke at patriotic drivel ). He combined what I picture to be all of the elements of what a storybook pirate should be like ( even if they did slaughter historical accuracy ).

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