Cast & Crew
In the seventeenth century, the pirate Captain Providence roams the waters of the Caribbean in the Sheba Queen and plunders British ships. Unknown to the British seafarers who fear her, Captain Providence is a hard-fighting and proud woman named Anne who hates the English because they hanged her brother. One day, Anne and her crew, including first mate Red Dougal, capture a British ship, and after forcing the crew to walk the plank, discover that the ship was carrying a French prisoner. The man, Pierre, explains that he was the master of the Irish privateer the Molly O'Brien , and that he was being sent to England for trial. Although Dougal distrusts Pierre, Anne decides to make him her sailing master. Later, the Sheba Queen puts into Nassau and Anne introduces Pierre to the infamous pirate Blackbeard, who reared her and her brother after they were orphaned. Blackbeard adores his fierce protegée, although like Dougal, he is unsure of Pierre. That evening, Pierre slips away and does not return to the ship until late. Fearing that Pierre is a spy, Anne orders him to be flogged. Jameson, the ship's alcoholic doctor, tells Anne to stop the punishment and reveals that when he searched Pierre's cabin, he discovered half of a treasure map. Anne excitedly declares that the map will lead to the loot of infamous pirate Henry Morgan, which Pierre confirms. Pierre relates the map's history and tells Anne that the other half is at Port Royal, Jamaica, the stronghold of the British forces. Anne hides the ship in a secret cove for repairs, and there, begins a romance with Pierre. They are interrupted by the arrival of Blackbeard, who accuses Pierre of being Pierre François La Rochelle, an officer in the French Navy. Pierre assures Anne that he was cashiered out of the Navy in disgrace and that he will serve her loyally. Anne believes Pierre and strikes Blackbeard across the face after he stabs Pierre. Warning Anne that he never forgets an insult, Blackbeard retreats, and Jameson tends to Pierre. Later, by the time the Sheba Queen reaches Jamaica, Pierre has recovered and Anne has fallen in love with him. Pierre insists on entering Port Royal alone to obtain the map, and once there, goes to The Governors' Tavern. There, Pierre relates to the British Naval officers for whom he is spying that Captain Providence is a woman, and that her ship is within reach. The officers, who have been holding Pierre's ship while he completed his forced mission to find Captain Providence, will not release the Molly O'Brien until Anne is captured, but in the meantime, Pierre is reunited with his wife Molly. Dougal, who has followed Pierre, rushes back to the Sheba Queen and informs Anne that her lover is a married spy who has led her into a trap. Anne escapes and vows revenge, while Pierre is informed by the British that his ship will not be returned because Anne was not captured. Wherry offers to return the Molly O'Brien to Pierre if he turns pirate for the British and shares his spoils, but Pierre refuses until he learns that Anne has kidnapped Molly. Pierre's ship is outfitted with a crew of gold-hungry swabs and they begin their pursuit of the Sheba Queen . Meanwhile, a drunken and heartsick Anne confronts Molly with the information that she will be sold at the slave market in Maracaibo. At the market, Anne is auctioning off Molly when Pierre's ship attacks the port. Anne then ties Molly to the mast of the Sheba Queen so that Pierre will be forced to hold his fire. Pierre's crew mutinies against his strange orders and a battle begins, during which Pierre jumps overboard and his ship is destroyed. Anne then decides to strand Pierre and Molly on Dead Man's Cay without food or water. She is plagued by nightmares after depositing her prisoners on the cay, and Jameson tells Anne that her conscience is punishing her for her cruel actions. Remorseful at last, Anne returns to the cay and sends Jameson to Pierre and Molly with supplies. Before Anne can leave, however, Blackbeard's ship arrives, and knowing that her former teacher will kill Pierre if he finds him, Anne orders her men to stand and fight in order to distract him. As Pierre, Molly and Jameson watch the battle, they are amazed by Anne's foolhardy decision, for the Sheba Queen could easily outrun Blackbeard's heavier Revenge . As the Sheba Queen sinks, they realize that Anne was doing the best she could to save them. Moved by Anne's sacrifice, Pierre comforts Molly by assuring her that at last Anne is at home in the sea.
James Robertson Justice
Robert St. Angelo
Fred F. Ellis
Harry M. Leonard
E. Clayton Ward
Sean McClory (1924-2003)
Born on March 8, 1924 in Dublin, Ireland, he became a leading man at the famous Abbey Theatre in the early '40s and relocated to the United States shortly after World War II. His first roles were small bits as a police officer in two RKO quickies: Dick Tracy's Dilemma and Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (both 1947). He eventually graduated to more prestigious pictures like The Glass Menagerie (1950), Les Miserables (1952) and John Ford's The Quiet Man (1952).
After a few more supporting roles in quality pictures: Niagara (1953); the sci-fi chiller Them! (1954); and for John Ford again in The Long Gay Line (1955), McClory turned to television. He kept busy for several years with guest roles in a variety of popular shows: Bonanza, Wagon Train, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, The Outer Limits (1964) and countless others. By the mid-'60s, McClory became slightly more heavy-set, and began tossing off variations of jovial, "oirish" blarney for, yet again John Ford in Cheyenne Autumn (1964); and in a string of Disney pictures: Follow Me, Boys! (1966, his best role, a moving performance as the alcoholic father whose behavior alienates his son, played by a 15-year old Kurt Russell); The Happiest Millionaire (1967), and The Gnome-Mobile (1967), before he returned to television. His final role was in John Huston's acclaimed Irish opus The Dead (1987). He is survived by his wife, Peggy Webber McClory.
by Michael T. Toole
Sean McClory (1924-2003)
Although Herbert Ravenel Sass's short story was loosely based on the adventures of real-life pirate Anne Bonny (1700-?), the film is not a biography of Bonny, nor of Edward Teach, more commonly known as Blackbeard (d. 1718). According to 1948 New York Times news items, producer Walter Wanger originally purchased Sass's story as a vehicle for Susan Hayward, but shelved the project because of its large budget. Information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, indicates that Guy Endore wrote a treatment of Anne of the Indies for Wanger, but that his work was not included in Wanger's sale of the property to Twentieth Century-Fox in May 1950. Screenplays by January Fortune, written for Wanger, were included in the sale, athough the extent of Fortune's contribution to the released picture has not been determined. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collections, also at UCLA, studio production chief Darryl F. Zanuck instructed the writers to incorporate unused footage shot for the 1942 Twentieth Century-Fox pirate film The Black Swan, starring Tyrone Power (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50).
In a December 28, 1950 conference, Zanuck indicated that Valentina Cortese was being considered for the role of "Anne." Although contemporary sources include Lynn Davies in the cast as a "Carib woman," she does not appear in the completed film. Studio publicity includes the following actors in the cast, although their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed: Michael O'Brien, Mercer Barnes, Harold Hatfield, Earl Audet, Roy Jensen and Guy Way.
Other films featuring Anne Bonny as a character include the 1945 RKO picture The Spanish Main, directed by Frank Borzage and starring Maureen O'Hara (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50), and the 1995 Carolco picture Cutthroat Island directed by Renny Harlin and starring Geena Davis.