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Louisiana Story

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Genre  Drama
7.1/10 IMDb

Director  Robert J. Flaherty
Music director  Virgil Thomson
Louisiana Story movie poster
Writer  Robert J. Flaherty, Frances H. Flaherty
Release date  September 28, 1948 (1948-09-28) (U.S.)
Cast  Joseph Boudreaux (The Boy), Lionel Le Blanc (His Father), E. Bienvenu (His Mother), Frank Hardy (The Driller), C.P. Guedry (The Boilerman)
Screenplay  Robert J. Flaherty, Frances H. Flaherty
Similar movies  Related Robert J Flaherty movies

Louisiana story robert flaherty 1948 extrait en vostf

Young Alexander Napoleon Ulysses LaTour (Joseph Boudreaux) is a Cajun boy who lives with his family and his beloved pet raccoon in the Louisiana bayou. When his father (Lionel Le Blanc) allows an oil barge to drill on the familys land, the boy has questions about the process and its safety. Although directed by noted documentary filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty and sometimes misidentified as a true story, this is a scripted film commissioned and paid for by a major oil company.


Louisiana Story movie scenes Louisiana Story

Louisiana Story (1948) is a 78-minute black-and-white American film. Although the events and characters depicted are fictional, it is often misidentified as a documentary film, when in fact, it is a docufiction. The script was written by Frances H. Flaherty and Robert J. Flaherty, directed by Robert J. Flaherty, and was commissioned by the Standard Oil Company.

The idyllic life of a young Cajun boy and his pet raccoon is disrupted when the tranquility of the bayou is broken by an oil well drilling near his home.


A first-hand viewing of the film reveals a story dealing with the adventures of a young Cajun boy and his pet raccoon, who live a somewhat idyllic existence playing in the bayous of Louisiana. A sub-plot involves his elderly fathers allowing an oil company to drill for oil in the inlet that runs behind their house.

Excerpt from louisiana story

A completely assembled miniature oil rig on a slender barge is towed into the inlet from connecting narrow waterways. Although there is a moment of crisis when the rig strikes a gas pocket, most of this is dealt with swiftly and off-camera, and the barge, rig, and friendly drillers depart expeditiously, leaving behind a phenomenally clean environment and a wealthy Cajun family.

Conflict and action for the plot is provided by the presence of a giant alligator in the area, which is believed to have eaten the pet raccoon and which is hunted in revenge. There is no individual or organized resistance to the incursion of the oil seekers, even after the (brief, offscreen) disaster, who are unequivocally portrayed as friendly, progressive humanitarians.

The boy, named in the film as Alexander Napoleon Ulysses Le Tour but in the credits just identified as "the boy", was played by Joseph Boudreaux. The film was photographed by Richard Leacock and edited by Helen van Dongen, who were also the associate producers. Original release was through independent film distributor Lopert Films.


The film was shot on location in the Louisiana bayou country, using local residents for actors. However, none of the members of the Cajun family (boy, father and mother) were actually related, and the film does not in any aspect deal with Cajun culture or the reality of the hard lives of the Cajun people, or with the mechanics of drilling for oil. The story itself is completely fictional. It is therefore unclear why, other than for publicity purposes, or out of respect to the then-near-forgotten Flaherty, the film was ever referred to as a documentary, much less why it continues to be. In 1952 it was reissued by an exploitation film outfit with a new title, Cajun, on the bottom half of a double bill with another film called Watusi.

Reception and awards

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story in 1948. In 1949, Virgil Thomson won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his score to the film (which is based on a famous field tape of indigenous Cajun musicians and was performed by the Philadelphia Symphony). In 1994, Louisiana Story was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The movie was also in the top 10 of the first British Film Institutes Sight and Sound poll in 1952.


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