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Directed by Cecil B. De Mille
USA 1938


Cecil B. De Mille's strong suits—sex, spectacle, and patriotism—come together in this 1938 swashbuckler, which tells of Jean Lafitte's battle against the British in the War of 1812. Fredric March, as the pirate turned freedom fighter, hams it up as usual, strapping on an impenetrable French accent that sounds like one of Lord Olivier's late creations, but his bravado is in high character. The action finale, a guerrilla attack led from the swamps, is among De Mille's most fluid and atmospheric pieces. With Franciska Gaal (a De Mille discovery who didn't pan out), Akim Tamiroff, Walter Brennan, and dozens of veteran character actors.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr's review at the Chicago Reader located HERE


Fredric March plays the swashbuckling pirate Jean Lafitte, operating of the coast of New Orleans, Lafitte and his thousand pirates plunder all passing ships for the wealth, but refuses to attack any vessel flying the American flag. Lafitte is offered a pardon by Andrew Jackson (Hugh Sothern), if he and his men fight by his side against the powerful British redcoats. As good as his word, Lafitte stands shoulder to shoulder with Jackson as they ward off the British at the Battle of New Orleans. Rescued from a sunken ship by Lafitte, Dutch maiden Gretchen (Franciska Gaal) falls madly in love with the dashing pirate, but he only has eyes for aristocratic Louisiana belle Annette (Margot Grahame), the daughter of Governor Claiborne (Douglass Dumbrille) who's Lafitte's arch nemesis. The stellar cast includes Akim Tamiroff, Walter Brennan and Anthony Quinn. Directed by the great Cecil B. DeMille who also produced a remake of The Buccaneer in 1958.


Television Premiere: January 7th, 1938

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DVD Review: Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:05:44 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.49 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2012

Keep Case
Chapters: 8



Olive Films is expanding their stable of older Paramount releases. Their listing has varied from adventure films like Escape From Zahrain to comedies My Favorite Spy , Where Love Has Gone, Knock on Wood, as well as Noirs Appointment With Danger, William Dieterle's Dark City and Rudolph Mate's Union Station and even science fiction with Crack in the World. De Mile's The Buccaneer is quite entertaining.   

Like all Olive Film DVDs to date this is dual-layered and progressive. It is in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The image quality is not stellar as there are plenty of vertical surface scratches. Detail and contrast are acceptable and the contrast is above expectations.

The unremarkable audio is functional. It's flat but supports the film well enough. There are no subtitles on the region 1 - NTSC DVD.

I can see De Mille fans curious enough to indulge and they will probably be pleasantly surprised by the film value.  I have no unwatchable complaints about the Olive Film transfer. The price isn't too far off for what you get - and there are plenty who will indulge and enjoy.  

Gary W. Tooze

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Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC

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