Pirate captain Anne Providence finds a French prisoner on board a British ship she has captured. Pierre François La Rochelle says he has been shanghaied by Anne’s archenemies and the lady pirate eventually makes him her sailing master. Yet even as she unexpectedly lands in the arms of the Frenchman, she is unsure she can trust him. The plot thickens even further when her father figure, pirate captain Blackbeard, recognizes La Rochelle as a French naval officer and possible spy … As the dust from the swashbuckling fighting lifts, this treasure chest of a film offers any manner of circus-style attractions. While the Jolly Roger flying atop the mast makes for a black-and-white film cameo of sorts, the spectacular colours below it have license to rampage like buccaneers. Colour is even used to signify gender-bending in this proto-feminist flick – while Anne’s red bandanna worn with otherwise plain clothing signals her willingness to engage in erotic gameplay, her rival is adorned with the gift of a gold lamé dress, downgrading her to a mere sex object, a bit of “booty”.
by Jacques Tourneur
with Jean Peters, Louis Jourdan, Debra Paget
USA 1951 81’