Frenchman’s Creek. 1944. USA. Directed by Mitchell Leisen. Screenplay by Talbot Jennings. With Joan Fontaine, Arturo de Córdova, Basil Rathbone. 4K digital restoration by Universal Pictures in collaboration with The Film Foundation at NBCUniversal StudioPost laboratory from a 35mm 3-strip nitrate original cut picture negative preserved at UCLA Film and Television Archive. Special thanks to Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg for their consultation on this restoration. Courtesy Universal Pictures. North American premiere. 112 min.
Several years after Alfred Hitchcock’s successful screen adaptation of Rebecca, Mitchell Leisen (Death Takes a Holiday, Midnight) made this exorbitantly sumptuous Technicolor adaptation of another novel by Daphne du Maurier, also collaborating with the great cinematographer George Barnes. As Dona St. Colomb, a noblewoman in 17th-century Restoration England, Joan Fontaine ditches her husband and children and takes up with a French pirate (played, naturally, by the Mexican star Arturo de Córdova) in his plunderous exploits along the coast of Cornwall, with the predatory Lord Rockingham (Basil Rathbone) in hot pursuit.