The Buccaneer | Chicago Reader

The Buccaneer

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.

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