ANNE OF THE INDIES

In memory of Maureen O’Hara, scroll to the very bottom of page.

“We put our hands to a bargain. To make my hand good, I’ve been spread eagle, flogged. I’ve called red-handed cut-throats my friends. I’ve stood by and watched murders and worst…and that’s not all. With daily and nightly prospects of the plank at my back, I crawled; made myself agreeable in all ways to the vilest harshest she-monster that ever came out of the sea! And I think all the oceans never wash me clean again!” – A man describing Capt. Anne.

SWASHATHON ( CUTTHROAT ISLAND ) SWASHATHON ( CABIN BOY ) SWASHATHON ( SWASHBUCKLER ) SWASHATHON ( PIRATES CARIBBEAN )

SWASHATHON ( Banner #2 )There have been pirate movies in the recent past like “Cutthroat Island” (1995), “Cabin Boy” (1994) and my very own personal favorite “Swashbuckler” (1976) which I saw four times at Radio City Music Hall. Oh yeah, I can’t leave out Johnny Depp ( even if I WANT to ) cornering the pirate market in his trilogy as Jack Sparrow. So when I read that the Movies Silently blog would helm a Swashathon in honor of the 100th anniversary of actor Douglas Fairbanks’ debut in motion pictures, I knew I wanted in. No denying, Fairbanks was the first and one of the greatest swashbucklers in movies. What boy didn’t want to be a pirate? Try out feats of derring-do, sword fights, rescuing ( and/or conquering ) beautiful damsels-in-distress and dubloons; lovely gold dubloons. But is a girl’s fate only to be the damsel-in-distress? ( See this past summer’s ANTI-DAMSEL BLOGATHON ).

ANNE OF THE INDIES POSTER

I finally saw a movie I’ve been waiting to see for about thirty years. My old college class- mate told me long ago of a female pirate movie called “ANNE OF THE INDIES.” He told me this before DVDs, before VCRs, before cable tv. I’ve been waiting ever since to see it. And I finally have.

ANNE OF THE INDIES” (1951) Jean PetersLouis JordanDebra PagetThomas Gomez,  Herbert Marshall. DIRECTOR: Jacques Tourneur.

JEAN PETERS COLLAGE

JEAN PETERS. She wasn’t one of the those top 1950’s femmes who sucked up all the oxygen out of fan magazines. She was a good solid serious actress. She’s different in each film I’ve seen her in. In “Captain from Castile” she’s wild. In noir thriller “Pick-up On South Street” she’s sullen. In “Niagara” she’s a playful 1950’s housewife on a belated honeymoon.  In “A Blueprint for Murder” she is reserved, restrained and in control. In “Take Care of My Little Girl” she’s a snooty snotty sorority b*tch. In my Swashathon contribution – “Anne of the Indies” – Jean is a little bit of everything…sexy, vulnerable, sullen, reserved and fiery. To me, she even looks like a cross between Elizabeth Taylor and Mercedes McCambridge. I’m trying to think of other actresses of the time who could have gotten into this feminine tomboy role other than Maureen O’Hara. I’m coming up blank. And no, I don’t want to see Debbie Reynolds with a sword.

I hope Peters had fun making this movie ‘cuz she’s so danged serious most of her movie time. She has the chance to work with the great Jacques Tourneur of “Cat People”-“I Walked With a Zombie”-“Out of the Past” fame. As Captain Anne Providence she’s no panty waist. When the movie opens she’s being tended by the ship’s doctor ( Herbert Marshall ) for a wound. She doesn’t cry. She’s a tough cookie.

  ANNE OF THE INDIES ( II )ANNE OF THE INDIES ( III )ANNE OF THE INDIES ( XIII )

                    Peters:       “It’s only a scratch.”
                    Marshall:  “Oh you’ll bear a scar.”

                    Peters:       “I bear many scars from the English.”
                    Marshall:  “This one will mar your beauty.”

                    Peters:       “Save that  for the wenches!”

Her education is spotty at best; she can read maps but not words and she’s a bit defen-sive about it. ( She needn’t have been. Education for women was not a top priority back then. But she did get to travel ). She has closed off her emotions. But the capture of the handsome and dashing suspected spy played by Louis Jourdan awakens a whole slew of emotions I don’t think Peters’ pirate bargained for.

ANNE OF THE INDIES ( VIII )

LOUIS JOURDAN ( NAPPING... )Before Belmondo, Depardieu, Trintignant and ( Whew! ) super pretty boy Alain Delon, there was Louis Jourdan.
( Yeah yeah, I know: Chevalier and Boyer and Gabin but really, c’mon…) He does well in this role as Captain Pierre Francois LaRochelle and not every actor can seem believable in a puffy shirt  (Jerry Seinfeld that means you!) and spouting pirate dialogue. He’s sincere in his lovemaking and sincere in his anger. Maybe it’s his continental accent. Jourdan appeared in “The Paradine Case” “Madame Bovary” “Letter From An Unknown Woman” and “Gigi” and let me tell you, here in “Anne of theANNE OF THE INDIES ( VI ) ANNE OF THE INDIES ( IX )Indies” he is just drop dead gorgeous. No wonder Peters loses her heart. So of course, she’s first got to have him flogged and whipped within an inch of his life, and then she tends to his wounds after. Well, you know the old movie adage: I love you / I hate you: which means I hate I LOVE you.” Peters is attracted to him and uses him for information AND to find out how Frenchmen make love. ( How else is a girl supposed to know? ) My impression is that she’s probably been dealing with some pretty rough trade in her travels on the high seas, and wants a taste of tenderness and being treated like a lady.

ANNE OF THE INDIES ( XX ) ANNE OF THE INDIES ( XXI )

“You’re Captain because I made you Captain. I was a fool to think a wench could be other than a wench. What I made, I can blast!!”

Admittedly Jean Peters is no Maureen O’Hara in the swordsplay department ( who is? ) but she looks good doing what she does. She mixes it up with the head pirate of pirates: Blackbeard. Blackbeard is played with gusto and zeal by the great Thomas Gomez. Gomez’s Blackbeard mentored her – taught her everything he knows about the pirate business. She beats him in a duel ( that I suspect he “let” her win ) and their good-natured fun turns serious when Blackbeard strikes Jourdan. In defense of Jourdan, Peters strikes Blackbeard…in front of all the pirates. Nah, not a good move.

Now they are enemies.

ANNE OF THE INDIES ( V ) ANNE OF THE INDIES ( X )

Plot direction shifts quickly in “Anne of the Indies” and I like that. There’s more betrayal to go around when Jourdan is revealed to have made a bargain with the Devil ( the British ) which leads him to become an enemy of Captain Anne. Jourdan does a good job; he’s handsome and masculine and fits in with the time period. He looks good in the puffy shirt too as I already mentioned. He’s convincing as a paramour of Captain Anne…so it stands to reason that Peters has good reason to be ‘a woman scorned’ when the lovely Debra Paget arrives on the scene and is introduced in the film. It sends Peters over the edge. After all, she may be a pirate…but she IS a woman.

The fifties belonged to a few stars: Elvis, Debbie, Kim and of course, Marilyn. But one who is not talked about too much but who put a smile on men and boys’ face from the 50’s, and who was definitely one of the princesses of the time is Debra Paget. ( “The Ten Commandments” “Love Me Tender” “Demetrius and the Gladiators” “Broken Arrow” “Prince Valiant” and her debut in 1948’s “Cry of the City” ).

ANNE OF THE INDIES ( XV )

It seems Paget was the sweet voluptuous young thing in EVERYthing in the fifties. Just the sort of girl men want to marry. Paget and Peters are two opposite ideals in “Anne of the Indies”:

  • One, your typical fifties wife: compliant, soft-voiced, not too many serious thoughts in her head other than how to please her husband.
  • The other – strong, independent, edgy…speaks her mind, travels to exotic locales and is in charge, though being in control and being in charge are two different things.

Seeing Peters in the role of Captain Queen doesn’t seem odd to me. I was a teenager during the bra-burning, Women’s Libbing, Gloria Steinham, Ms. Generation era. But really, should she look too strange to 1951 audiences if they were used to the strong women of the forties like Stanwyck and Davis and Crawford and Hepburn? She didn’t really look strange to me but I have to admit, Peters’ Other-ness is definitely accentuated next to Paget.

These two have a nice face-off that is worthy of Crawford & Blyth and Davis & Hopkins. Paget doesn’t cower or back down in the face of Peters. She’s no wallflower. And the two women have a wonderfully spirited exchange:

ANNE OF THE INDIES ( IV )

PETERS: “So you’re his notion of a mate for life.”
PAGET:   “If you intend to cut my throat, cut it now and be done with…”
PETERS: “Cut your throat? What do you take me for?”
PAGET:   “A disgrace to our sex.”
PETERS: “His words?”
PAGET:   “No, mine. He spoke no ill of you. He pitied you.”
PETERS: “PITY?! He dared to pity me, the treacherous scum!”
PAGET:   “Before you blackguard him, I ask you to remember he is my husband.”
PETERS: “The best you could get for yourself?”
PAGET:   You couldn’t get him.”

Peters SLAPS Paget.

PETERS: “And you’ll never have him again.”

It’s here where Peters reveals her plan to pimp out Paget; she’ll get a pretty penny for this princess from each and every man in all the Carribbean. I have to tell you, when I heard Peters go there I howled because I didn’t expect it. I thought it was a perfect bold move worthy of any pirate captain but moreso as a woman scorned. Paget could only ask:

  “Were you born in the gutter or did you choose it?!”

ANNE OF THE INDIES ( XVII )

Ow!!! Burn.

Peters may have the power but down deep ( or not so deep ) she’s hurt by the man she trusted ( which sometimes happens to us girls especially if he’s French ); the dashing Frenchman made unkept promises. I was kind of stunned when Paget was actually taken to the slave market and put on the block!! Whoa! Peters plays the role perfectly showing pride, bravado, hurt, defensiveness and wearing pirate togs very well. When I saw Jourdan come on the scene I wondered…how long will it be before Peters gets into a dress. ( When she does…it serves to remind us of her beauty ).

When she and Jourdan meet again, Peters holds all the cards at this point. He asks her to spare Paget’s life. Uh-unh. ( SMH! )

ANNE OF THE INDIES ( XIV )

“Why should I spare her? Why shouldn’t I give myself the pleasure of watching your face while I…I let the men of my company throw dice for her.”

ANNE OF THE INDIES ( XI )

And when Jourdan think he’s insulting her, Peters’ retort is a zinger:

JOURDAN: “You like to play the man, then act one.”
PETERS:      “But I’m a woman as you’re so fond of reminding me. You should have thought of that when you betrayed me. Now I’m making sure that your last thoughts will be of me.”

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There’s more to the story but I’ll let it unfold for you; I haven’t given it all away. And my words can’t do justice to this rousing adventure. You’ve got to see Anne of the Indies for yourself. I like it. It’s lively, there are fights, there is romance and the tension between the two women…and it is just plain wonderful to see Jean Peters running and jumping and being in charge of a bunch of scurvy pirate guys. There are more entries for this SWASHATHON. Just unbuckle your swash and click here…but make sure your pants don’t fall down:

SWASHATHON ( Banner #4 )

As I said, she’s no Maureen O’Hara, but you know what…Jean Peters doesn’t have to be. Being Jean Peters is more than enough.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

To Maureen O’Hara – what can I say. For my memories on seeing a great star, click below:

MAUREEN & DUKE
August 17th, 1920 – October 24th, 2015

(  H O M E  )

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18 thoughts on “ANNE OF THE INDIES

  1. I don’t know how I’ve missed this one over the years, but I’ve got to fix that right away. I’m quite fond of Jean Peters. In “Apache” co-starring Burt Lancaster, she gets tossed around like rag doll without losing any of her dignity. How does she do it?

    Debra Paget made five movies with Jeffrey Hunter and when they air on television my husband says we mere mortals have to avert our eyes from such other-worldly beauty. He is generally not given to such flowery language, but I guess some folks bring it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Anne of the Indies” is a lotta fun, Nitrate Glow. Thanks for stopping by. I thought Jean Peters acquitted her self very nicely. And I loved her face off with Debra Paget. Yeah, Louis Jourdan is worth fighting over, don’cha think? Hey, why don’t you consider joining my Star-Director Blogathon??

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  2. Thanks so much for joining in! This film has always been a guilty pleasure for me. Loved the spirited ladies, hated how the conventional “emotional woman” thing was Anne’s Achilles heel. Oh well, we can’t have it all and we had a lot of fun along the way. Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

    • FRITZI 🙂 ~ Thanx so much for including my blog in your great idea. “Emotional woman” – yeah. As soon as a gal in pants puts on a dress ( See “Queen Christina” ) she’s a goner. But until she puts on that dress we can watch the fun. Jean Peters is a joy for me: whether housewife, pickpocket or pirate. Thanks again.

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  3. I spent a couple hours researching female pirates one day (the Chinese female pirates seem to have been the fiercest), and so was so pleased to find a movie dedicated to them. What fun this sounds!! Thank you for letting me know about it, and for this very funny review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Leah. Thanks for reading it. There are so many great reviews during this SWASHATHON. And I’ll put my little Jean Peters up against any of ’em, man or woman. Oh…maybe not up against Maureen O’Hara. Nooooo. I don’t know of Chinese female pirates. Now it looks like I have to do some research. Thank you again for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the introduction to this – not sure how it’s never crossed by path before, but now it has I can’t wait to watch it. Jacques Tourneur seems to excel at taking clichéd genres and turning them on their heads – I’m thinking about Canyon Passage and Cat People here!

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  5. Really like the idea of a strong female pirate who can hold her own on the high seas. I’m not overly familiar with Jean Peters’ career, but I’ve loved her in everything I’ve seen her in.

    Really enjoyed your post – a fun blend of humour and interesting observations. I always learn something from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought you get a chance to see some Jean Peters films. She’s wonderful. ( “A Blueprint for Murder” “Pick-Up On South Street” ). Speakeasy wrote a great article for the blogathon on a wicked lady that was a great read which you should check out here. I’m so glad you’re having fun reading my work. Thanks for letting me know!!

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  6. I love this film, I’d like to imagine I would be this type of pirate, but I am probably a lot closer to Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin :)! This post was fun, thanks for puttin’ the girl power in the Swashathon!

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