“LOUISIANA STORY”, a film by Robert Flaherty, has style but no substance. While it tries to have more of a semblance of a plot than his earlier “MAN OF ARAN” had, it’s hard not to feel that he’s patronizing the audience the audience throughout the entire film!
Put simply, the film revolves around a poor family living in horrendous conditions Things may change, however, when an oil company visits, wanting to lease the father’s land to search for oil.
When realizing the film was financed by the Standard Oil company, what else needs to be said? The film is so blatantly biased towards big oil, and exploiting people “without” calling it exploitation, it’s impossible to not feel insulted while watching a film that is nothing more than propaganda. When the well is finally finished, and the mother finally gets a new pot, and instead of scratching one’s head, Flaherty clearly wants the viewer to feel relief, it makes one feel all the criticism leveled at Flaherty’s work to be well-founded. He’s a schill!
Still, like “MAN OF ARAN”, there are some great scenes and incredible images. Almost every scene with the young boy going into the swamp/bayou is captivating.
HOME VISION’ presentation of “LOUISIANA STORY” looks terrific. It was recently restored, and the image is extremely sharp, allowing for great detail and no artifacts whatsoever. Contrast is nearly flawless, allowing for excellent depth in darker scenes.
The film features a beautiful score, presented with excellent fidelity. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.
Scenes from Flaherty’s “THE LAND” have been included as one of the extras. Unlike “LOUISIANA STORY” this film was financed by the Department of Agriculture, and it actually appears to be an honest, moving look at the threats facing America in terms of erosion and over-developing. Unfortunately, the film was never completed, most likely due to the shock of government officials after having seen it.
There are other extras offered, including dramatized letters and more.