Louisiana Story Reviews

  • Jan 13, 2021

    What The Birth of a Nation was to race, Louisiana Story was to the environment - a critically reputable puff piece that has aged incredibly poorly in its purpose. Standard Oil presents themselves as a worthy compatriot of an idyllic Huckleberry Finn-esque Cajun boy who lives in concert with the bayou, bringing wealth and leaving behind a perfectly preserved wetland for the native inhabitants to continue their way of life. Not only shameless and dishonest, but also relentlessly boring, Louisiana Story has value only as a historical representative of the dangers of allowing commercial interests too great of an influence into media production. How this piece of docufiction made its way onto any iteration of Sight & Sound is anyone's guess, apart from the soundtrack. (0.5/5)

    What The Birth of a Nation was to race, Louisiana Story was to the environment - a critically reputable puff piece that has aged incredibly poorly in its purpose. Standard Oil presents themselves as a worthy compatriot of an idyllic Huckleberry Finn-esque Cajun boy who lives in concert with the bayou, bringing wealth and leaving behind a perfectly preserved wetland for the native inhabitants to continue their way of life. Not only shameless and dishonest, but also relentlessly boring, Louisiana Story has value only as a historical representative of the dangers of allowing commercial interests too great of an influence into media production. How this piece of docufiction made its way onto any iteration of Sight & Sound is anyone's guess, apart from the soundtrack. (0.5/5)

  • Jan 26, 2019

    The best movie score ever composed!

    The best movie score ever composed!

  • Jul 08, 2018

    A shameless ad for the oil industry. The message is: we'll go in, drill for oil in your bayou, and leave the land pristine and native culture undisturbed, and you'll get to buy better groceries and a new gun with your share of the oil profits. The film has some endearing images of a Cajun boy and his pet raccon, plus a Pulitzer prize-winning score by Virgil Thomson, but it is little more than an industrial advertisement grafted onto the last of director Flaherty's man vs. nature docudramas.

    A shameless ad for the oil industry. The message is: we'll go in, drill for oil in your bayou, and leave the land pristine and native culture undisturbed, and you'll get to buy better groceries and a new gun with your share of the oil profits. The film has some endearing images of a Cajun boy and his pet raccon, plus a Pulitzer prize-winning score by Virgil Thomson, but it is little more than an industrial advertisement grafted onto the last of director Flaherty's man vs. nature docudramas.

  • Feb 10, 2018

    1001 movies to see before you die. A bizarre type of documentary about oil exploration in LA. Some cultural gems, but overall just odd.

    1001 movies to see before you die. A bizarre type of documentary about oil exploration in LA. Some cultural gems, but overall just odd.

  • Apr 24, 2015

    Lacks the intensity of Flaherty's other films.

    Lacks the intensity of Flaherty's other films.

  • Mar 30, 2015

    Late film from Robert ("Nanook of the North") Flaherty who is well known for "staging" his documentaries, thereby capturing the ecstatic truth rather than the accountant's truth (as Werner Herzog might have it). Here, Flaherty makes no bones about casting his nonprofessional (and therefore "real") actors in a loose "fictional" story about a young Cajun boy who observes oil-drilling wildcatters in the bayou. The plot's suspense lies in the failure of the well to produce for most of the film, until the boy superstitiously throws salt and spits in the well to bring luck. A subplot involves his pet raccoon that may or may not have gotten himself eaten by a giant alligator. The story, simplified to sub-Disney levels and with very little dialogue, is not the point here. Instead, viewers are advised just to gawk at the amazing images of the bayou and the oil rig (shot by Richard Leacock) and to see how the principles of montage are used in action (e.g., shot of boy looking; shot of alligator swimming; shot of boy's alarmed reaction). Even the chase sequences (alligator vs. raccoon and boy vs. alligator vs. father) use cross-cutting as D. W. Griffith would have, in order to keep things moving and to keep us interested. Overall, something seems missing, however - maybe the real Louisiana? Selected for the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress.

    Late film from Robert ("Nanook of the North") Flaherty who is well known for "staging" his documentaries, thereby capturing the ecstatic truth rather than the accountant's truth (as Werner Herzog might have it). Here, Flaherty makes no bones about casting his nonprofessional (and therefore "real") actors in a loose "fictional" story about a young Cajun boy who observes oil-drilling wildcatters in the bayou. The plot's suspense lies in the failure of the well to produce for most of the film, until the boy superstitiously throws salt and spits in the well to bring luck. A subplot involves his pet raccoon that may or may not have gotten himself eaten by a giant alligator. The story, simplified to sub-Disney levels and with very little dialogue, is not the point here. Instead, viewers are advised just to gawk at the amazing images of the bayou and the oil rig (shot by Richard Leacock) and to see how the principles of montage are used in action (e.g., shot of boy looking; shot of alligator swimming; shot of boy's alarmed reaction). Even the chase sequences (alligator vs. raccoon and boy vs. alligator vs. father) use cross-cutting as D. W. Griffith would have, in order to keep things moving and to keep us interested. Overall, something seems missing, however - maybe the real Louisiana? Selected for the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress.

  • Feb 16, 2012

    It's a little hard to judge because I (legally) downloaded a copy from, I think, the National Film Archive site? Eh, some site that has all sorts of public domain stuff available. My point is the quality of the file was rather poor, but from what I could see and hear, it was amateur actors extolling drilling for oil. Not bad, but kind of weird.

    It's a little hard to judge because I (legally) downloaded a copy from, I think, the National Film Archive site? Eh, some site that has all sorts of public domain stuff available. My point is the quality of the file was rather poor, but from what I could see and hear, it was amateur actors extolling drilling for oil. Not bad, but kind of weird.

  • Oct 29, 2011

    It builds a lovely atmosphere around the boy's way of life, weaving in details of the incorporation of an oil derrick in the family's backyard. That effect is underplayed (probably in part because of the funding for the film), but it works nonetheless.

    It builds a lovely atmosphere around the boy's way of life, weaving in details of the incorporation of an oil derrick in the family's backyard. That effect is underplayed (probably in part because of the funding for the film), but it works nonetheless.

  • Oct 10, 2011

    well, the photography is nice. the story is agonizingly thin and really drags. the characters are bland and the performances are dry and passionless--the most spirited character is probably the raccoon. the dialogue is scant, and a good portion of it is in unsubtitled French. if Standard Oil wanted to promote an environmentally-friendly image of themselves, they didn't need this 78-minute yawn-fest to do it. decent score, decent photography, but overall a dull, pointless film.

    well, the photography is nice. the story is agonizingly thin and really drags. the characters are bland and the performances are dry and passionless--the most spirited character is probably the raccoon. the dialogue is scant, and a good portion of it is in unsubtitled French. if Standard Oil wanted to promote an environmentally-friendly image of themselves, they didn't need this 78-minute yawn-fest to do it. decent score, decent photography, but overall a dull, pointless film.

  • Oct 10, 2011

    well, the photography is nice. the story is agonizingly thin and really drags. the characters are bland and the performances are dry and passionless--the most spirited character is probably the raccoon. the dialogue is scant, and a good portion of it is in unsubtitled French. if Standard Oil wanted to promote an environmentally-friendly image of themselves, they didn't need this 78-minute yawn-fest to do it. decent score, decent photography, but overall a dull, pointless film.

    well, the photography is nice. the story is agonizingly thin and really drags. the characters are bland and the performances are dry and passionless--the most spirited character is probably the raccoon. the dialogue is scant, and a good portion of it is in unsubtitled French. if Standard Oil wanted to promote an environmentally-friendly image of themselves, they didn't need this 78-minute yawn-fest to do it. decent score, decent photography, but overall a dull, pointless film.