Friday, April 16, 2010

Booty: The Louisiana Buccaneer

My friend Pam Keyes is pretty cool and, to go along with her incredible skills as a researcher and historian, she collects really cool things. Yes. I envy her. Not only does she have an authentic flintlock from the days Laffite and the Baratarians (found in the Bay, no less) but she is in possession of one of the vests Yul Brynner wore in his role as Jean Laffite in the 1958 version of The Buccaneer.

The movie is only available today on VHS, and used at that, for ridiculous prices. It's a shame and a conundrum at the same time. Turner owns the rights, as I understand, and has colorized the original black and white. You see it now and again on TCM, usually late at night. For those of you unfamiliar, here is the description from IMDB:

During the War of 1812 against Britain: General Andrew Jackson has only 1,200 men left to defend New Orleans when he learns that a British fleet will arrive with 60 ships and 16,000 men to take the city. In this situation an island near the city becomes strategically important to both parties, but it's inhabited by the last big buccaneer: Jean Lafitte. Although Lafitte never attacks American ships, the governor hates him for selling merchandise without taxes - and is loved by the citizens for the same reason. When the big fight gets nearer, Lafitte is drawn between the fronts. His heart belongs to America, but his people urge him to join the party that's more likely to win.

It's an almost creepy oversimplification of the actual events but you get the picture. What makes the film so much fun is not the history - which is faulty at best - but the casting. Yul is Lafitte [sic], of course but then there's Charlton Heston as Andrew Jackson, which is just as brilliant. Add to that E.G. Marshal as Governor William C.C. Claiborne, Charles Boyer as Dominique Youx and a couple of ladies to swoon at Laffite's... well... feet and you've got something worth watching. There is even an actor named Sir Lancelot involved. No kidding.

Plus how can you beat this:
You can't, so don't try. Thanks, Pam. Let's keep our fingers crossed for a DVD release sooner than later.

Happy Friday, Brethren. And if you will indulge me, I would like to add on a completely unrelated and personal note:
Rest in Peace Peter Steele - 1962 - 2010 - You will not be forgotten.


Ozarklorian said...

Hi Pauline, thanks for the compliments. The 1958 Buccaneer is available on "pirated" DVD via China. I have VHS of both the 1938 and 1958 versions; think I've just about wore out my 1958 one. Every once in a while, TCM runs both movies back to back, along with commentary. YouTube has a very nice original trailer promoting the 1958 Buccaneer.

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Ozarklorian! No thanks necessary whatsoever. I also saw a YouTube clip of the "pre-battle" scene with Laffite taking the Native out onto the field to shoot the flaming arrow. Good stuff!

Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! That whole post is just made of awesome. Ya gotta love Yul "So let it be written. So let it be done." Brynner and Chuck "Good for you" Heston... Together again for the very first time! Plus the whole setting, cast of real life characters, historical setting, amazing cast (Sir Lancelot... isn't that the guy who does the voice of "Plankton" on "SpongeBob Squarepants"?)... Nicely done, Pirate Queen!

And finally, on a very sad note, thanks for beautiful painting and acknowledgement of the untimely and tragic death of Peter Steele... As I said yesterday, one of greatest vocalists in rock is gone at 48... Like Warren Zevon in 2003, our lives will be poorer for the lack of his musical genius, cantankerous attitude and sarcastic sense of humor. RIP Pete. You are already missed.

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Timmy! I hear ya. There are just no end to the good things you can say about this movie. DVD please, Mr. Turner.

And I thought about posting a picture of Peter himself, but it occured to me that "Death and the Gravedigger" would have appealed to him a lot more. What with Death being a female angel and holding a creepy green light and so on. It's the least I can do.

Timmy! said...

"Still searching for someone who was around. Barely coping..."

The creepy green light was a nice touch. Hopefully we can make the pain subside over the weekend.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, your "Piratical Fact of the Week" for this week is pretty funny too, Pirate Queen.