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: