Newest Reviews
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Iron Mask, The
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Butterfly Murders, The
Lady is a Square, The
Zack Snyder's Justice League
Dark Rendezvous
Silk Road
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
  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 3138 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
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor


Last Updated: