Frenchman’s Creek is a 17th-century romance about the lady and the pirate, beautifully Technicolored and lavishly mounted. Film reputedly cost over $3 million to produce, Paramount’s costliest investment [at the time].
The romantic pirate from France who invades the Cornish coast of England, hiding his frigate in what thus becomes known as Frenchman’s Creek, plays his role with all the musical comedy bravado the part calls for.
The romance is supposedly forthright and played straight. Joan Fontaine seeks refuge in the Cornish castle to get away from a stupid husband (Ralph Forbes) and a ducal menace. The scoundrelly servant at the Cornish retreat is actually the pirate chief’s hireling, and the romance between the two, is but one of a sequence of similar adventures.
The performances are sometimes unconsciously tongue-in-cheek, but withal come off well. Cecil Kellaway is particularly good as the servant.
The scripting [from the novel by Daphne du Maurier] at times borders on the ludicrous, especially when almost all the sympathetic figures wax near hysteria in their scoffing at the dangers which may beset them. Productionally it is ultra. And no minor assist is an excellent Victor Young score.
1945: Best Color Art Decoration