Anne of the Indies

Jacques Tourneur (1904-1977) is best known for the three films he directed for producer Val Lewton at RKO - The Cat People (1942), I Walked with a Zombie (1943), and The Leopard Man (1943) - and for the film noir classics Out of the Past (1947) and Nightfall (1956). However, since a 1975 Edinburgh Film Festival Tourneur Retrospective focused a great deal of critical attention on Anne of the Indies (1951), which had previously been dismissed as a routine Fox swashbuckler with one intriguing variation - the pirate captain is a woman, albeit a woman masquerading in male attire - the film has been a key object of study in several conferences and seminars devoted to feminist film theory and “psychoanalysis and cinema.” In her essay, “Femininity and the Masquerade: Anne of the Indies," Claire Johnston has written:
“...we can see that Anne of the Indies is concerned essentially with the problematic nature of the fundamental fact of bi-sexuality...despite the masquerade.... Tourneur's depiction of the masquerade itself constitutes a radical attempt to situate this dilemma afresh for explore new avenues of desire and phantasy. The film perhaps marks one of the most radical attempts to explore the fact of sexual heterogeneity in the classic Hollywood cinema, foregrounding the repression of the feminine....”

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