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Anne of the Indies

Anne of the Indies

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Anne of the Indies  LaRochelle, a former pirate captain, is caught by the British. To get his ship back, he works as a spy against other pirates, first of all Blackbeard and Providence. He works on some ships, crossing the Caribbean sea, with the intention of being enchained, when a pirate ship is in sight, to make them believe he’s an enemy of the British. One day, his ship is conquered by Captain Providence. What nobody knew before, Providence is a (beautiful, of course) woman. She believes his story and so he joins her crew. But Blackbeard, her fatherly friend, doesn’t believe him. Providence and LaRochelle fall in love, although he is married. When LaRochelle tries to deliver her to the British, she forebodes the trap, kidnaps his wife and escapes. As for revenge, she wants to sell his wife on a slave-market. LaRochell gets his ship and his crew back and follows her. …The storming, slashing, sweeping saga of history’s fabulous pirate queen !

STARS: Jean Peters, Louis Jourdan, Debra Paget

81 min | Action, Adventure, Drama | 1951 | Color


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A Story of Love and Honor
This film is far from the purely cutthroat pirate escapades one might expect from a film about pirates. There is much more to this film. Love, revenge, and sacrifice are at the heart of this engaging story.
The incomparable Louis Jourdan portrays Captain Pierre François LaRochelle, who is forced into pretending to be a prisoner on a pirate ship whose purpose is to spy on Blackbeard (Thomas Gomez) and Captain Providence (Jean Peters. The discovery that Providence is a woman changes LaRochelle's game plan; he woos and romances her all the while holding tight to the fact that he is happily married to Molly (Debra Paget). When LaRochelle plots to have Providence captured, she realizes his truth and kidnaps Molly as revenge.
Revenge because LaRochelle does not truly love her. He had lied to get what was needed in order to get his own ship back. Despite the tough exterior that Providence exhibits, she is still a woman--a reality that LaRochelle had shown her through his (albeit false) tenderness. She even reneges on her banishment to a deserted cay, where she had taken Pierre and Molly, and arranges their departure moments before she engages in battle with Blackbeard--her mentor--and is killed. Her last act is the kindest Providence has ever shown. It also cements her legend as one of the great pirates.
This is a tale of love--true love and unrequited love. Pierre's true love lies with Molly. Providence's love for Pierre is unrequited. However, witnessing the true love shared between Pierre and Molly quenches Providence's thirst for revenge and opens her kindness and humanity. She sacrifices herself so that Pierre and Molly can live out their lives together. That is indeed a noble act.

Love, guilt and atonement on the caribbean
I like the film, it´s the best pirate-movie I watched hitherto (forget silly Errol-Flynn-stuff and Pirates of the Caribbean). This movie is wonderful melancholic. I compare it with "Johnny Guitar" at the sea-side (but 3 years earlier), two women fighting for a man, where mad love might lead one.
The character of the female (anti-) heroine, Anne Providence, is superb, acting without compromise like a child, lost alone on her search for a own female identity in a real man´s world. She´s a quite strange movie-hero, not a funny pirate, as most of her companions in this genre, not making jokes all the time, fighting for the poor and good and only killing the stupid spanish or british soldiers or - better - sly governors, but she´s murdering all the poor prisoners of war, after she captured a ship (look careful at this at the start of the movie), she´s primitive (she can´t even read), she is desperated and she get´s an alcoholic, she looses all her friends as consequence of her obstinacy and she´s wearing rags most of the film. This film shows a pirate "hero" a little (!) bit as he (or in this case "she", but there has been a female "Anne" buccaneer, Anne Boney) might have been in brutal reality.
The film is quite short and the story is told in a breathtaking manner. Certainly, a film from the 1950s has no exciting special effects for present time viewers (the ships swim very obvious in a bath tube), but this real drama about love (that kills), trust, betrayal, revenge, hatred and sacrifice drives one crazy. Maybe, Anne is even supposed to be Judas Iskarioth and Jesus from Nazareth in one person, being betrayed by her friend (the french LaRochelle) as Jesus; after being disappointed by the friend, delivering him to a death penalty (as Judas); than getting remorse about this (like Judas, who commits suicide according to the gospel of Matthew); and in the end sacrificing herself for the rescue of the beloved enemy (as Jesus). But, even if you are not interested in this philosophical questions of guilt and atonement, the film brings a lot of (cheap) action as sword fights and burning (plastic) ships for a very short one and a half hour.

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