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ANNE OF THE INDIES

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CineMaven
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ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby CineMaven » September 21st, 2009, 6:18 am

"We put our hands to a bargain. To make my hand good, I've been spread eagle, flogged. I've called red-handed cut-throats, my friends. I've stood by and watched murders and worst...and that's not all. With daily and nightly prospects of the plank at my back, I crawled; made myself agreeable in all ways to the vilest harshest she monster that ever came out of the sea!

And I think all the oceans never wash me clean again!"


”ANNE OF THE INDIES” (1951) Jean Peters, Louis Jordan, Thomas Gomez, Herbert Marshall DIRECTOR: Jacques Tourneur

I saw a movie I’ve been waiting to see for about thirty years. Now, there have been pirate movies in the recent past “Cutthroat Island” (1995) “Cabin Boy” (1994) and my personal favorite “Swashbuckler” (1976) which I saw four times at Radio City Music Hall. And of course, there’s Johnny Depp cornering the pirate market in his trilogy as Jack Sparrow. But an old college film classmate told me long ago of a female pirate movie called ”ANNE OF THE INDIES.” He told me this before DVDs, before VCRs, before cable tv. And I’ve been waiting ever since. http://www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi1525547545/

Like Kate Mulgrew in “Star Trek: Voyager” or Dame Judi Dench as 007’s ‘M’ -- the beautiful JEAN PETERS plays a woman at the helm. I’ve seen a couple of Jean Peters’ movies in succession recently: “Pick Up On South Street” “Niagara” and just introduced “A Blueprint for Murder” to my friends during my trip to Worcester, MA. We enjoyed the film becuz it kept us guessing. I know very little about Jean Peters other than ‘that man’ she married, so she’s a bit of a mystery to me: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0676492/

She wasn’t one of the those top 50’s femmes but I liked her. She’s different in each film I’ve seen her in. In ”Captain from Castile” she’s wild. In ”Pick-up...” she’s sullen. In ”Niagara” she’s playful; she’s a 50’s wife on a belated honeymoon. She plays down her dark fiery looks but then again in the face of Marilyn and that red dress... In ”Blueprint...” she is reserved, restrained in control (like a brunette Martha Hyer). In “Anne of the Indies” Jean is a little bit of everything...sexy, vulnerable, sullen and reserved. She even looks like a cross between Elizabeth Taylor and Mercedes McCambridge. I’m trying to think of other actresses of the time who could have gotten into this feminine tomboy role other than Maureen O’Hara.

I’m coming up blank. And no, I don't want to see Debbie Reynolds with a sword.

I hope Peters had fun making this movie ‘cuz she’s so danged serious most of the time. But I guess supervising a bunch of scurvy sea-faring sea scum is a serious job. And she had the chance to work with the great Jacques Tourneur of “Cat People” “I Walked With a Zombie” and “Out of the Past” fame. As Captain Anne Providence she’s no panty waist. When the movie opens she’s being tended by the ship’s doctor (HERBERT MARSHALL) for a wound. She doesn’t cry. Her education is spotty at best; she can read maps but not words. And she’s a bit defensive about it. (She needn’t have been. Education for women was not a top priority back then. But she did get to travel). She has closed off her emotions. But the capture of the handsome and dashing suspected spy played by LOUIS JOURDAN awakens a whole slew of feeling I don’t think Peters’ pirate bargained for.

Before Belmondo, Depardieu, Trintignant and (<whew>) Alain Delon, there was Louis Jourdan. (Yeah yeah, I know: Chevalier and Boyer but really...) He does well in this role as Captain Pierre Francois LaRochelle. Not every actor can seem believable in a puffy shirt and spouting pirate dialogue. He’s sincere in his lovemaking and sincere in his anger. Maybe it’s his continental accent. Jourdan appeared in “The Paradine Case” “Madame Bovary” and “Gigi” and let me tell you, in “Anne of the Indies” he is drop dead gorgeous in this film. No wonder Peters’ loses her heart. So of course, she has him whipped within an inch of his life. Then she tends to his wounds after. (You know, the old "I love you/I hate you: which means I LOVE you"). Peters is attracted to him and uses him for information AND to find out how Frenchmen make love. My impression is that she’s probably been dealing with some pretty rough trade in her travels on the high seas, and wants a taste of tenderness and being treated like a lady. Jealousy peaks out its little head when she sees a dress he has gotten for a lady. But he then gives the dress to her.

Admittedly Jean Peters is no Maureen O’Hara in the swordsplay department. (Who was? Boys got to have ALL the fun). No panache...not a lot of finesse either with the sword...but no matter. It’s Jean Peters and he looks good doing what she does. She mixes it up with the head pirate of pirates: Blackbeard. Blackbeard is played with gusto and zeal by the great THOMAS GOMEZ. Gomez’s Blackbeard mentored her - taught her everything he knows about the pirate business. She beats him in a duel (that I suspect he ”let” her win) and their good-natured fun turns serious when Blackbeard strikes Jourdan. In defense of Jourdan, Peters strikes Blackbeard...in front of all the pirates. Nah, not a good move.

”You’re Captain because I made you Captain. I was a fool to think a wench could be other than a wench. What I made I can blast!!”

Now they are enemies.

Plot direction shifts quickly in “Anne of the Indies” and I like that. There’s more betrayal to go around when Jourdan is revealed to have made a bargain with the Devil (the British) which leads him to become an enemy of Captain Anne. Jourdan does a good job; he’s handsome and masculine and fits in with the time period. He looks good in the puffy shirt too. He’s convincing as a paramour of Captain Anne...so it stands to reason that Peters has a good reason to be a woman scorned when the lovely Debra Paget arrives on the scene and is introduced in the film. It sends Peters over the edge.

The fifties belonged to a few stars: Elvis, Debbie, Kim and of course, Marilyn. But one that’s not talked of too much but was definitely one of the princesses of the time was DEBRA PAGET. (”The Ten Commandments” “ Love Me Tender” “Demetrius and the Gladiator” “Broken Arrow” “Prince Valiant” and her start in 1948’s ”Cry of the City.”) I walked into my favorite City Hall pen shop and talked to my salesman/friend. He, too, is a movie buff. When I mention Debra Paget, his face lights up and he smiles: "Awww Debra Paget.” That’s probably the standard male reaction for her. It seems like Paget was the sweet young thing in EVERYthing in the fifties. Just the sort of girl men want to marry. Paget and Peters are two opposite ideals in “Anne of the Indies.”

One is your typical fifties wife: soft, compliant, soft-voiced, not too many serious thoughts in her head other than how to please a man; the other is strong, independent, edgy...speaks her mind, travels to exotic locales and is in charge (though being in control and being in charge are two different things). Seeing Peters in the role of Captain Queen doesn’t seem odd to me. I was a teenager during the bra-burning, Women’s Libber, Gloria Steinham, Ms. Generation. But really, should she look too strange to 1951 audiences if they were used to the strong women of the forties like Stanwyck and Davis and Crawford and Hepburn? She didn’t really look strange to me but I have to admit, Peters’ Otherness is definitely accentuated next to Paget.

These two have a nice face-off that is worthy of Crawford & Blythe and Davis and Hopkins. There was a bit of tension between the two that my own 21st century imagination allowed a bit of departure to what Tourneur put on the screen...but back to the movie at hand. Paget doesn’t cower and back down in the face of Peters. She’s no wallflower. And the two women have a wonderfully spirited exchange:

PETERS: So you’re his notion of a mate for life.”

PAGET: If you intend to cut my throat, cut it now and be done with...

PETERS: Cut your throat? What do you take me for?

PAGET: A disgrace to our sex.

PETERS: His words?

PAGET: No, mine. He spoke no ill of you. He pitied you.

PETERS: PITY? He dared to pity me, the treacherous scum!

PAGET: Before you blackguard him, I ask you to remember he is my husband.

PETERS: The best you could get for yourself?

PAGET: You couldn’t get him.


SLAP!!!!

PETERS: And you’ll never have him again.

It’s here where Peters reveals her plan to pimp out Paget; she’ll get a pretty penny for this princess from each and every man in all the Carribbean. I have to tell you, when I heard Peters go there I howled becuz I didn’t expect it. I thought it was a perfect bold move worthy of any pirate captain but moreso as a woman scorned. Paget could only ask: ”Were you born in the gutter or did you choose it?!”

Peters may have the power but down deep (or not so deep) she’s hurt by the man she trusted (which sometimes happens to us girls especially if he's French) the dashing Frenchman who made unkept promises. I was kind of stunned when Paget was actually taken to the slave market and put on the block!! Whoa! Peters plays the role perfectly showing pride, bravado, hurt, defensiveness and wearing pirate togs very well. When I saw Jourdan come on the scene I wondered...how long will it be before Peters gets into a dress. (When she does...it serves to remind us of her beauty).

Peters holds all the cards at the point when she and Jourdan meet again. He asks for her to spare Paget’s life. Uh-unh.

”Why should I spare her? Why shouldn’t I give myself the pleasure watching your face while I...I let the men of my company throw dice for her.”

And when Jourdan think he’s insulting her, Peters’ retort is a zinger:

JOURDAN: ”You like to play the man, then act one.”

PETERS: ”But I’m a woman as you’re so fond of reminding me. You should have thought of that when you betrayed me. Now I’m making sure that your last thoughts will be of me.”


Oh there’s more to the story but I’ll let it unfold for you; I haven’t given it all away. And my words can’t do enough justice to you actually seeing this rousing adventure. Check out the link at HULU. And if you dare...this link will show you some screencaps captured by a poster at TCM City: http://forums.tcm.com/jive/tcm/thread.j ... 1&#8297211

As I said, she’s no Maureen O’Hara, but you know what...Jean Peters doesn’t have to be. Being Jean Peters was alllllright, me hearty!
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com

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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby Mr. Arkadin » September 21st, 2009, 6:48 am

A Jacques Tourneur film I have not seen, but now long to see. 8) Great post CM. You need to visit more often and stay for tea (or a cup of grog).

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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby moira finnie » September 21st, 2009, 7:55 am

This is great!! I definitely plan on watching Anne of the Indies on Hulu after reading your splendid overview. Thanks so much for bringing this movie to light.

I think Jean Peters had quite a range, (loved her in both Captain from Castile & Pickup on South Street), even though her career sort of took a dive after marrying Howard Hughes. I also like Louis Jourdan more and more lately. I wonder if you've seen Bird of Paradise (1951-Delmer Daves), which stars Jourdan, Debra Paget, Jeff Chandler and the glory of a Pacific island in a colorful remake of the 1932 pre-code which featured Joel McCrea and Delores del Rio? Below are two compilation clips from Bird of Paradise which also has a few pirates kicking around! These clips don't do justice to the gorgeous color cinematography or the movie as a whole. I keep hoping that this OOP movie will show up on TCM, FMC or at least AMC, which is where I discovered this a few years ago.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CieRqEK5hbE[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TezaTcwZrik[/youtube]
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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby MissGoddess » September 21st, 2009, 10:04 am

Isn't it marvelous when you finally get hold of a movie you've been waiting forever to see?

Love your passion! Thank goodness you can share it here....free and undisturbed.

You should see Jean in The Captain From Castile. Her gypsy love dance with Tyrone Power...
it's...well... :shock: :shock: :shock: :D


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB62g7-H8Kc[/youtube]

(this trailer doesn't do it justice, as the movie is in gorgeous Technicolor)
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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby CineMaven » September 22nd, 2009, 12:46 am

Mr. Arkadin: “A Jacques Tourneur film I have not seen, but now long to see. Great post CM. You need to visit more often and stay for tea (or a cup of grog).”

Keep the grog steeping.

Moira: “This is great!! I definitely plan on watching Anne of the Indies on Hulu after reading your splendid overview. Thanks so much for bringing this movie to light.”

The movie is a wonderful bit of fun. I hope you do get a chance to check it out. I’ve never see either versions of “Birds of Paradise.” I did see Jeff Chandler in the clip you provided. I miss his iron-grey hair, but he’s still gorgeous.

MissGoddess: "Love your passion! Thank goodness you can share it here....free and undisturbed.”

Thanxx Ms. G. Again I have to say, I love old films...and I certainly can breathe here without being smothered. I’m minding my manners so I don’t become one of the ‘Uninvited.’ I sent away for a movie star pix of Tyrone Power from this movie when I was a teenager. The shot of him from “...Castile” is to die for!! He’s so handsome.
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby JackFavell » September 22nd, 2009, 9:04 am

Hey honey, Great post! I read it yesterday, and was once again wowed by your enthusiasm and your ability to translate it into print.

I am not big on costume epics, but you intrigued me with your writing. This is now on my "must watch" list. Here are some photos of Jean (please let me know if I am bothering anyone in any way by posting so many. I just couldn't help myself.

(click to enlarge):
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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby mrsl » September 23rd, 2009, 11:36 pm

What exactly is Hulu? Is it like UTube?
.
Anne


***********************************************************************
* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *

]***********************************************************************

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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby moira finnie » September 24th, 2009, 6:35 am

Hulu.com is like youtube, but it allows viewers access to some very good prints online of older movies and tv shows as well as older programs. The site features very brief commercial interruptions (about 30-45 seconds on avg.) periodically while viewing these movies and tv programs. You can see more background info here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulu

Hulu.com is here.
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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby Bronxgirl48 » September 27th, 2009, 7:47 pm

Theresa, Queen of the Mavens! I just ate up everything you wrote about ANNE OF THE INDIES. And Jacques Tourneur, too! Who could resist it?? I was having some problems accessing this film at Hulu -- it said "Loading Video", then I waited....and waited....and waited (I felt stuck in Casablanca) but, nada. So I'm gonna try again this evening, because I like Jean Peters, and Louis Jourdan is always easy on the eyes. And also because I'm a sucker for sea-faring yarns, pirates, and all things nautical.

Love her sensible wife in NIAGARA; her charismatic
enigmatic performance as Lynn in A BLUEPRINT FOR MURDER, her loyal spouse to hunky Richard Todd in A MAN CALLED PETER. She always leaves me wanting more!

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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby moira finnie » September 28th, 2009, 6:48 am

Bronxie, thanks for stopping by for CineMaven's great thread on this interesting movie. I had that same problem with Hulu.com when I had dialup, but found that broadband connections worked perfectly. Another thing that sometimes seems to affect the hulu connex is the type of browser used. IE usually works, but Firefox and Google Chrome work better for me. I hope that this helps a bit.
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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby Bronxgirl48 » October 3rd, 2009, 5:12 am

moira, it's always a pleasure stopping by at SSO (and getting to be more so as time goes by....) I finally was able to see ANNE on Hulu and ooh, boy, it was worth waiting for, with a few reservations I have to add. I actually would have preferred it in black & white, for a more representative moody Tourneur experience. Still, who can pass up the chance to see Louis Jourdan in Technicolor? Not me! All I can say is: Woof!

Maven, I loved the exchanges between scorned Jean and gorgeous, defiant Debra (who reminds me of Rhonda Fleming's younger brunette sister; they both have a haunting, haughty, and bewitching beauty) These scenes did have a delicious campy bitchiness. I sort of got lost in Paget's face when she was on the screen, I almost forgot Peters was there, and Jean is not exactly chopped llver as we all know. I couldn't believe the perverseness of Anne's actions towards her.

I was looking for Tourneur's "touch" -- I didn't see anything except for a scene where Anne (garbed in a white nightgown -- an iconic feminine image of a romantic heroine) stirs in the tropical night from a restless and troubled sleep due to her newly awakened, yet ambivalent, feelings towards Jourdan.

I barely recognized Thomas Gomez as Blackbeard, lol. Yo-ho-ho-and-a-bottle-of-rum! The nautical expressions were flying, and Anne had quite a few of them herself.

I liked Herbert Marshall as the disillusioned, alcoholic (what other kind would there be on board?) ship's doctor.

As for Louis Jourdan -- be still my heart! I've never seen him look so good. What a smoothie. I didn't think he and Jean had any real chemistry, plot developments notwithstanding. Their natural understatedness as actors seemed to cancel, or, "wash" each other out. I was hoping for more intense interactions between them. I wanted Anne to see Paris with him!

I was also disappointed in the finale -- I couldn't buy Jourdan's sudden interest in Jean's actions towards him and Paget at the end.

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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby CineMaven » October 3rd, 2009, 6:30 am

Well ahoy me matey!!!

Enjoyed your comments and I tend to get caught up in the adventure of a film, but you were so right (or I agree) in your noting the lack of chemistry, the cinematography NOT showing off the Tourneur touch, and the haughtiness of Paget's features. Yeah...Rhonda Fleming's kid sister.

I do see it could be a bit easier to forget Jean Peters when Debra Paget's on the screen. But if Peters would have gone thru the film without that bandana and let her hair down...I don't think the pale almond-eyed redhead would stand a chance.

Now where did you store that bottle of rum??
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby Bronxgirl48 » October 3rd, 2009, 8:20 pm

Arrrr, stow and belay that! I just love sea-talk.

So now this is another Peters film showing the versatility I admire about her, and I have to say I enjoyed Jean as a female swashbuckler. She looked real pert in that bandana, but I too wished she would have tossed it off, whooped it up, and really given luscious Debra a run for her money. Now I haven't seen Maureen O'Hara as a pirate, so I can't make any comparisons.

I think Anne was smitten by Louis the very first time he came aboard her ship as a prisoner. She was "bothered" by him, all right, in every possible way. Upwardly, downwardly, striving, now! now! LOL He definitely had an animal thing about him. A very suave, sophisticated, French animal thing.

I really lose myself in the romance and adventure of a fun movie, too, and I think had I seen this as a kidlet or young teen, I wouldn't have been so "picky", but instead just swept away with the fantasy of it all. Still, I want to see it again!

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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby CineMaven » October 4th, 2009, 9:35 am

"Now I haven't seen Maureen O'Hara as a pirate, so I can't make any comparisons." - Bronxgirl.

Hiya Bronxie :D

Hmmm...Maureen O'Hara. Well, she wore those britches and vest well. And she really knew how to sling a sword around. Roam around the Oasis. It's nice here.
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Re: ANNE OF THE INDIES

Postby Mr. Arkadin » September 29th, 2012, 11:04 pm

It's been three years, but FMC finally showed Anne of the Indies and I managed to record it thanks to an alert by Mr. ChiO. I was able to finish the film this afternoon (I often have to watch in segments these days) and I have to say it lived up to all the hype and more.

What I like most about Anne of the Indies, is that it rarely falls into cliche, or the stereotypical idea of what a swashbuckler should be. Perhaps that might be because it is a romantic tragedy with an eyepatch instead of the other way 'round. As for Peters role, there is no room for error. If she underplays the part, Anne would not be interesting or sympathetic, while overplay would simply be a parody. The result is a measured performance that serves well in Tourneur's world.

Framing and shots are well composed, particularly the vessel scenes, where I never felt I was looking at a set. Color is also an interesting factor here with Tourneur contrasting the blue sky and sea (symbolizing freedom) with dark earth tones giving the film a surprising richness. I had only seen black and white stills of this movie beforehand and while the colors are of a different character and not as vibrant as, say, Johnny Guitar (1954) (another interesting gender film and perhaps companion piece), the effect on the viewer is similar.

As CM says, many of the thirties and forties films dealt with strong independent women, while the fifties seemed to bring repression of those ideals (my favorite MST 3000 quip is: "What am I arguing with a woman for? It's the fifties! Get in the car!"). Anne of the Indies seems to be a mixture, with Anne repressing her femininity only to have it revealed by a faithless man, who turns her world upside down. The result is an interesting discourse on gender roles, and the questioning of the characters abilities to undergo those changes and live within them. There's a lot more here, but I'll need about five more viewings to get a good grip on this one.


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