Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  High Wind in Jamaica, A Pirate Movie
Year: 1965
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Anthony Quinn, James Coburn, Dennis Price, Lila Kedrova, Nigel Davenport, Isabel Dean, Kenneth J. Warren, Ben Carruthers, Gert Fröbe, Brian Phelan, Vivienne Ventura, Deborah Baxter, Roberta Tovey, Martin Amis, Jeffrey Chandler, Karen Flack, Henry Beltran
Genre: Drama, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: The mid-nineteenth century, and in Jamaica where the Thornton family are living as Mr Thornton (Nigel Davenport) works there, emigrants from England. But one day there is a hurricane on the island which devastates the surroundings, not to mention their home, and as they hide in the basement from the storm, the workers carry out a voodoo ceremony to ward off evil spirits. It is this as much as anything else which convinces Mrs Thornton (Isabel Dean) to send their five children back to England as she worries they will turn savage...

But turn savage they do, in spite of her best efforts, in this, the big screen adaptation of Richard Hughes semi-classic novel which once upon a time was a set text in British schools although it was supplanted in the common consciousness by The Lord of the Flies, which took many of Hughes' themes and created a genuine classic out of them. But the conclusions were the same and seated in a mistrust of children left to their own devices: the kids in this were not marooned, but they proved more troubling than the pirates who kidnapped them.

Yes, this was a pirate movie, but there was no hint of a Captain Jack Sparrow to be seen here, as the ne'erdowells depicted were a lot closer to reality, and in that represented the end of an era of piracy on the high seas that captured the imaginations for centuries after, leaving the likes of Blackbeard or Captain Blood populating seafaring blockbusters and would-be blockbusters on screen and on the page, never quite going out of fashion. Yet it was not the scourge of the sea which lay at the heart of the drama, it was the Thorntons, along with two other children who were along for the trip on a British ship that was boarded.

Almost by accident, the youngsters end up stuck on the pirate ship, and the most subversive aspect of this was they were delighted to be undertaking this adventure as it suited them down to the ground. The captain who takes them on this journey is Chavez (Anthony Quinn), who has a loyal first mate in Zac (James Coburn), and this duo become curious kind of parents even as they have their reservations but cannot think of a way to get rid of these charges without abandoning them to the elements or people worse than the buccaneers they have fallen in with. This results in an edgy atmosphere onboard, and you'd be right to predict none of it will end well for anybody.

Well, anybody except the children, who adapt to these surroundings with naive, but also callous, ease. Among the actors playing them was future author Martin Amis, in the role of John whose fate in the book is almost casually shocking, but the real star of the show was Deborah Baxter as Emily, the most significant of the minors, putting in a remarkable performance that spoke to great promise the actress unfortunately was not able to capitalise upon. It is Emily who commits the act which dooms the pirates, here placed as the climax of the story - in the book there was more time to ruminate over what she's done - save for the courtroom scenes which top this off. A High Wind in Jamaica, like its source, is an uneasy tale, and brought to the screen it had an airless and dreamlike quality which ironically rendered it all the more convincing, haunting, in its very strangeness. Music by Larry Adler.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 4864 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: