Louisiana Story

Director: Robert Flaherty
Year Released: 1948
Rating: 1.5

Lush cinematography aside, this is a highly dubious film - Flaherty showed with Nanook of the North that he was a master filmmaker ("truth" aside), but here he shows himself to be a propagandist for hire, making a movie about how the bayous of Louisiana and an oil refinery (which sputters "gas" and who knows what into the waters) can live together harmoniously - and being funded by an oil company to do so. If he made the film with money out of his own pocket, that's fine, but with the "sponsorship" comes the question of his artistic responsibility: he's making a movie that the oil company wants people to like. The men who work at the oil plant are friendly to a fault, and the little boy that they befriend mourns the 'potential closing' of the refinery after a most regrettable explosion. The scenes that involve interaction between the characters are about as awkward as those you'd find in student films - just a lot of smiling and poor delivery - and there's a lurking suggestion that the alligators and crocodiles that inhabit the bayous are more dangerous than industrial America, looking to make a fortune. It has all the credibility of the story of a man who takes medication to cure his crippling depression that was produced by Roche.