The Buccaneer (1938)


THE BUCCANEER —-fearlessly gaudy flag-waving nonsense from the Book of History According to DeMille.  Well-meaning pirate Jean Lafitte (Fredric March) is courted and hassled by both the British and the Americans during the War of 1812.  He finally makes the right decision, but not until  Akim Tamiroff has time to give one of his groddiest, most enjoyable turns as Lafitte’s pal, uttering oaths like “Blawdd of a t’ousan peegs!


March has fun hamming it up French-like as the hero; this may be the most over-extended acting he’d ever done, but it’s in tempo with the rest of the 1938 production, which has the usual DeMille quota of horrible speeches, laughable bit parts, flamboyant costuming and elaborate art direction. Cecil B. produced & directed.31062036

There are a couple of well-done action scenes, and one—the Battle Of New Orleans— is made to look like a back-slapping good time. Franciska Gaal was a Hungarian cabaret star brought over by DeMille in order to charm Hollywood: judge for yourself.

The fine Cinematography (by Victor Milner) was Oscar nominated. It runs 124 minutes, was the 16th most successful offering that year, tallying $3,006,000 against an outlay of $1,396,000. On view: Margot Grahame, Walter Brennan, Ian Keith, Anthony Quinn, Douglas Dumbrille, Beulah Bondi, Spring Byington, Evelyn Keyes, Richard Denning and Paul Fix.


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