14 June 2013 | ma-cortes
A spectacular rendition of the feats of pirate Jean Lafitte and his association with President Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812
Semi-fictional account of pirate Jean Lafitte's involvement in the War of 1812 with some of the most thrilling war scenes ever filmed . This remake of Cecil B DeMille's 1938 production starts with a prologue : Jean Lafitte , last of Buccaneers , lives on in Lord Byron's immortal words : ¨He left a Corsair's name to other times , linked with one virtue and a thousand crimes¨. These American Presidents condemned , pardoned and again condemned this pirate . But Fate placed into the hands of this man without-a-country the destiny of a country - the United States - fighting for its very existence in the war of 1812 . Defeat has followed defeat . Now , only one man stood guard to ward off the final death blow , a backwoods General called Andrew Jackson with a handful of squirrel hunters and raw recruits . However , this prologue fails to mention the great irony of the Battle of New Orleans: by the time it was fought, a treaty to end the War of 1812 had already been signed in London , but word of the signing did not reach New Orleans until weeks later. The British have sacked Washington and hope to capture New Orleans, where pirate Jean Lafitte (Yul Brynner) romances blueblooded Annette (Inger Stevens) and openly sells his loot in a pirates' market. But he never attacks American ships . General Andrew Jackson (Charlton Heston previously played this role in The President's Lady) has only 1,200 men left to defend New Orleans when he learns that a British fleet will arrive with 60 ships and 16,000 men to take the city. In this situation an island near the city becomes strategically important to both parties, but it's inhabited by the last big buccaneer: Jean Lafitte , Lord of Barataria, Louisiana. When the battle gets nearer, Lafitte is drawn between both sides . His heart belongs to the United States , but his people urge him to unite the party that's more likely to vanquish .
Lavish film , 2 million dollars swashbuckling epic , magnificent adventure yarn , being spectacular and marvelously set in the War of 1812 against Britain . Cecil B DeMille 's last picture , he was seriously ailing and died while it was being made and completed by his son-in-law , Anthony Quinn. Anthony played the role of Beluche in the first version (1938) starred by Fredric March , Walter Brennan , Ian Keith , Akim Tamiroff , also directed by Cecil , for this one, Quinn is the director ; in fact, it is the only instance in his film career of taking on that job. The long-time associated Henry Wilcoxon , who starred ¨DeMille's The Crusades¨, took over as producer and the filmmaking went to actor Anthony Quinn who realized such a nice work that one wonders why it was the only one he made . The picture is based on historical deeds , though there is no historical evidence to prove that Lafitte actually was present during the battle. Facts were changed to protect 1950s sensitivities. Lafitte did have an affair with a Claybourne lady, but it was the Governor's wife, not his daughter. Interesting screenplay by Jesse L Lasky Jr , Cecil B. DeMille's usual screenwriter , but original script developed the story as a musical, then Cecil changed his mind when Yul Brynner, dissatisfied with the treatment of the material, threatened to back out of the film. A lot of exciting items cropped out for this high budgeted epic such as colorful cinematography by Loyal Griggs , rousing musical score by Elmer Bernstein , breathtaking production design by Albert Nozaki, Walter Tyler and Hal Pereira . It is adorned by the most notorious bald in the world , the great Yul Brynner , stands out Charlton Heston playing one of his ordinary historic characters , Claire Bloom as a tough pirate girl , an attractive Inger Stevens as Governor's daughter , Edgar G Marshall as Governor , a brilliant Charles Boyer as Dominique You , Henry Hull who wields a spirited rifle and many others ; including brief performances from a numerous support cast such as Lorne Greene as Mercier , Ted de Corsia as Capt. Rumbo , Douglass Dumbrille as Collector of the Port and who in the first adaptation acted as Governor , Robert F. Simon as Capt. Brown , Woody Strode , John Dierkes , Henry Brandon , Kathleen Freeman , among others . The motion picture was well directed by Anthony Quinn and Cecil B DeMille . DeMille oversaw production of the film, and appears in the prologue, but was unsatisfied with Quinn's efforts as director, as well as the work of old friend Henry Wilcoxen as producer, and tried to change and improve the film during and after production. DeMille died in January, 1959, only a month after the film's release.