Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tonight's Movie: Buccaneer's Girl (1950)

Beautiful Yvonne DeCarlo is in fine comic form in the title role as BUCCANEER'S GIRL (1950), a highly entertaining film which I found to be a wonderful, unexpected discovery.

I say "unexpected" as Leonard Maltin, for whom I have great respect, gives this film a mere two stars. But even the wise Leonard gets it wrong on occasion -- anyone who doubts that can check his review of WHITE CHRISTMAS!! -- and this was one of those times. He correctly calls the film "pure escapism" -- and it rated a solid three stars in my book. While watching, I smiled pretty much from start to finish.

I like what reviewer Hal Erickson wrote: "Though played tongue-in-cheek, Buccaneer's Girl never resorts to 'camp': it invites the audience to laugh with the film, rather than at it."

DeCarlo plays Deborah, an entertainer who befriends a company of pirates, led by the legendary Baptiste (Philip Friend). The pirates are so overcome with admiration for spunky Debbie that they are soon shaving and scrubbing the deck in her honor. The action then moves to New Orleans, where Debbie finds employment as a singer with Madame Brizar (Elsa Lanchester) and discovers Baptiste has another identity in New Orleans society.

I was unaware until watching a recent BIOGRAPHY episode on DeCarlo that she had musical training. She has the opportunity to sing a few numbers in this film (although I suspect that one "soprano" number was dubbed). And she looks truly lovely in a beautiful wardrobe by Yvonne Wood, which is shown off to perfection by the eye-popping candybox Technicolor.

Friend acquits himself well as the genial Baptiste. Lanchester has a scene-stealing role, as does Jay C. Flippen, who plays Baptiste's first mate. The cast also includes Andrea King, who appeared in THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU and THE MAN I LOVE, both reviewed here this year. Robert Douglas, Henry Daniell, and Verna Felton round out the main cast. (The same year BUCCANEER GIRL was released, Felton was the voice of the Fairy Godmother in Disney's CINDERELLA. She did many other Disney voices, including the Queen of Hearts in ALICE IN WONDERLAND and Flora in SLEEPING BEAUTY.) Funny one-scene bit parts are filled by John Qualen and Connie Gilchrist.

BUCCANEER'S GIRL runs a fast-paced 77 minutes. The director was Frederick De Cordova of TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON fame.

BUCCANEER'S GIRL is part of the four-film Pirates of the Golden Age DVD set. One of the other films, AGAINST ALL FLAGS, was reviewed at this blog here. I haven't yet seen the set's other two films, YANKEE BUCCANEER and DOUBLE CROSSBONES, but it's definitely a good value (currently $19.99 at Amazon) just for the two films I've seen thus far.

Update: BUCCANEER'S GIRL is now also available as a single-title DVD release in the Universal Vault series.

May 2020 Update: BUCCANEER'S GIRL will be released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber in July 2020.

July 2020 Update: My review of the Kino Lorber Blu-ray may be read here.


Blogger Irene said...

I'm so glad you are reviewing these movies so that I knew about this DVD. I can hardly wait to start watching them. But all the movies I requested from the library are now starting to show up. Last night I watched The Man I Love. The VHS tape was surprisingly pristine considering it was a library tape. I really enjoyed it for the reasons you mentioned. I also agree with your comments on that thread that the scene in the previews of her kissing was not in the final cut nor was the song or music "Bill". Loved all the music but especially the session in that one club they visit on Ocean down by the beach. I also liked the "noir" look it had.

When I picked up Man I Love at the library yesterday the system showed Boom Town had come in for me but she couldn't locate it, so I will get that one today when I return Man I Love.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm so happy that the blog provides a place where I can share my love of movies! It's thrilling to me that one of my posts might lead someone else to experience the same enjoyment I had when watching a movie. :)

Thanks for confirming that my memory hadn't failed about the missing scenes in THE MAN I LOVE. I have a feeling they left some good stuff on the cutting room floor. I wonder if Ida Lupino has enough of a following to merit a DVD set of some of her films (either acting or directing) -- and whether the outtakes are still in the WB vaults? I'd love to see any missing musical scenes.

Wasn't it neat to have a movie set in Long Beach? I don't think there are all that many. I agree about that club scene. Really neat.

Hope you enjoy BOOM TOWN.


9:40 AM  

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