7 December 2008 | Bunuel1976
BUCCANEER'S GIRL (Frederick De Cordova, 1950) **
When this swashbuckling DVD set was announced, I was rather annoyed about the inclusion of three obscure efforts with the popular and vintage AGAINST ALL FLAGS (1952) starring Errol Flynn; well, having watched all three now, this proved to be perhaps the most resistible of them. For the record, my copy jumps from the Universal logo (preceding all their DVD releases) to the beginning of the film omitting the credits entirely, then it pixellated terribly around the 64-minute mark, so that I had to skip to the next chapter (thus missing a couple of minutes) in order to keep watching the thing through to its conclusion!
The plot has a New Orleans setting with a pirate named Baptiste (Philip Friend, an unknown actor to me but an okay lead under the circumstances) who hides under the guise of an aristocrat in order to keep up the fight with chief villain Robert Douglas (aided in his nefarious deeds by two other notable character actors Norman Lloyd and Henry Daniell). Guttersnipe Yvonne de Carlo I recall watching her other swashbuckler with director de Cordova, THE DESERT HAWK (1950), as a child and upper-class Andrea King vie for the dashing Friend's attentions (at one point, the two let their hair down and engage in a catfight over him during a ball!), while Jay C. Flippen appears as the hero's right-hand man. Incidentally, having seen this immediately after DOUBLE CROSSBONES (1951), it was amusing to realize that some of the sea-battle footage from BUCCANEER'S GIRL was replicated wholesale into the Donald O'Connor vehicle!
The film itself would be tolerable enough if it weren't for two huge flaws: for one thing, the action-less climax has to be the lamest ever devised for this type of fare; much more queasy, unfortunately, are de Carlo's trio of songs (under the tutelage of typically eccentric Elsa Lanchester) with the last of them occurring just minutes before the end titles! and for which the creator of the embarrassingly corny choreography ought to have been made to walk the plank himself.