I've said it before and I’m about to say it again: I love both movies entitled The Buccaneer. The silent film with Frederick March as Jean Laffite is an underappreciated classic along the lines of Birth of a Nation (without the racism or misogyny). The 1958 version adds talking, color, a little more historical accuracy and – biggest bonus of all – Yul Brynner as Jean Laffite and Charlton Heston as Andrew Jackson. The scene where Laffite points his pistol at Jackson and gives him a talking to is one of the finest piratical moments ever filmed.
You’ve also heard me whine about the fact that neither of these wonderful films is available on DVD. Yes, you can get a VHS of the 1958 film at Amazon for something like $30 so go ahead if you like. I’m holding out. My frustration extends to the fact that neither movie is even on YouTube. But a couple of clips featuring Mr. Brynner are available, grainy though they may be, and I’d like to share one with you to kick off the weekend.
This scene needs very little setting up. The murderous babe is an exposition set piece. She can show us her boobs while the pirate (my Uncle Renato Beluche, by the way, sporting some inaccurate if oh-so-shiny earrings) manhandles her and she spouts off about how no one on Grande Terre wants to go in with the Americans. Except Laffite. Enter Gambi and a couple of his cronies to join in and harp on the recently taken ship that will pay off in millions if only they kill the little boy (and probably his dog, too) being watched over by an unusually uniformed Dominique Youx (played to the hilt by the wonderful Charles Boyer). Wow; that was a long sentence!
Anyway, everyone looks like they just had a bath and their clothes were dry cleaned which is the case with all these “historical” movies from back in the day so nothing new there. Oh yeah, and I also love the aside about the “Governor’s daughter” who, in all fairness, would have been about two years old at the time. It hardly takes away from the fun of the movie, though. So here for your viewing pleasure are Yul Brynner, Charles Boyer and a host of other fine actors in 1958's The Buccaneer: