Anne of the Indies (1951): Jacques Tourneur’s Technicolor Adventure, Starring Jean Peters and Louis Jourdan

Jacques Tourneur directed Anne of the Indies, a Technicolor adventure made by 20th Century Fox, starring Jean Peters and Louis Jourdan.

The cast also includes Debra Paget, Herbert Marshall, Thomas Gomez and James Robertson Justice.

After seizing a British ship, female pirate captain Anne Providence (Peters) spares LaRochelle (Jourdan), a handsome Frenchman captured by the British, from walking the plank. He agrees to join Providence’s crew and soon she falls for him.

They travel to an island where they meet with her pirate mentor Captain Blackbeard (played by Thomas Gomez), who takes an instant dislike to LaRochelle.

Blackbeard realizes he has seen LaRochelle in the French navy when a pirate was hanged. LaRochelle claims he was dismissed from the French navy, and Anne believes him.

It turns out that LaRochelle is married–he’s working for the British as they have captured his ship. He betrays Anne to the British, who attack her ship. However, she manages to escape and takes his wife hostage.

Taking her revenge, Anne maroons him and his wife on remote island to die. She sails away, but her conscience compels her to return with provisions and small boat.

In the end, watching the disaster unfolds, LaRochelle and his wife pay tribute to Anne’s sacrifice.

The film was based on a short story published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1947 by Charleston’s author, Herbert Sass. In 1948, he offered a fictionalized version of the true story of Anne Bonny. However, what ended up on screen was very different from the original story.

In February 1948 Walter Wanger bought the screen rights to the story for Susan Hayward, whom Wanger had under contract. In February 1949, it was reported Hayward would make the film at Columbia with Guy Endore as writer and Mark Robson as director. But Hayward was unable to star in the film.

Louis Jourdan was signed to play the male lead and Valentina Cortesa to play a female pirate. Jourdan had recently had his contract with Selznick bought by Fox. Bu January 1951 Cortesa was out, due to her accent, and Constance Smith was being tested. Eventually the title role was given to Jean Peters, her first starring role

“I would have died if I’d lost the part of Anne,” said Peters. “The costumes are delirious, any girl would look good in them.; they have tight-fitting trousers and open throat shirt down to here, and free top boots – I’m in rags, really but so picturesque and flattering. And the character is terrific, she’s a complete primitive, a girl raised by Blackbeard, the pirate, who knows no other life than the law of might. Just an animal. I can’t wait to begin it. Of course, I’m aware it’s a dangerous part, too. You could make an awful fool of yourself if you went overboard.”

Darryl F. Zanuck developed Peters for 7 years and she came through big in this film.

Jacques Tourneur was signed to long-term contract at Fox after filming completed.

Jean Peters as Anne, also known as Capt. Providence
Louis Jourdan as Capt. Pierre François LaRochelle
Debra Paget as Molly LaRochelle
Herbert Marshall as Dr. Jameson
Thomas Gomez as Blackbeard
James Robertson Justice as Red Dougal
Francis Pierlot as Herkimer
Sean McClory as Hackett
Holmes Herbert as British sea captain
Byron Nelson as Bear handler
Mario Siletti as Auctioneer
James Dime as pirate