Monday, November 23, 2015

Annie, Are You OK?

One of the movies currently being rotated through the FXM Retro lineup that I haven't blogged about before is Anne of the Indies. It's on tomorrow at 11:50 AM and again at 9:35 AM Wednesday.

The movie opens with a ship making the Atlantic crossing circa 1700, which is a dangerous undertaking considering that there are pirates afoot. Sure enough, the ship gets waylaid by a pirate ship, specifically one captained by the notorious Captain Providence, whom the autorities have never seen. It turns out that Captain Providence is a woman! (The role is played by Jean Peters.) Captain Providence takes a prisoner, Captain Pierre LaRochelle (Louis Jourdan). However, she takes a liking to him, and he's willing to gain a small measure of freedom by working in her crew. After all, he's French, and his ship was impounded by the English in Jamaica.

Except that it turns out that he's not quite working for Captain Providence. That's just a ruse so that he can get information on the pirate captain for the English authorities, in exchange for which they will release his ship. And that's not the only lie he's keeping from Providence. When he goes ashore in Jamaica to talk to the English authorities, he also goes to see Mrs. LaRochelle (Debra Paget). Wait until Providence finds out about that!

And don't say she wasn't warned. Her first officer is wary of LaRochelle, while her mentor Blackbeard also wonders whether she's falling too much in love with LaRochelle and whether that will ultimately be to the detriment of her and her crew. The answer is that of course it will; Providence isn't a privateer, the sort of pirate who was actually working for a government. In that case, the Production Code could have forgiven her "crimes" which would be presented as part of a war between various countries.

But along the way we get nice Technicolor and a surprisingly harsh climax. When Providence learns the truth about LaRochelle, she decides to take him and his wife, and leave the two of them on an island that has no water or shade. They'll die of thirst, but they're more likely to go mad first. How will LaRochelle get out of that?

Anne of the Indies is a fairly pedestrian movie. It's one that entertains, but it doesn't do anything special. It's nice to look at, but probably won't be particularly memorable that long after you've watched it. But if you do like pirate movies, I think you'll like Anne of the Indies.

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