Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A High Wind in Jamaica - DVD Review

Eureka Entertainment return with a fine Pirate picture from 1965 that has been lost to time and is in much need of reappraisal.

Based upon Richard Hughes' classic 1929 novel, Alexander Mackendrick (Sweet Smell of Success, The Ladykillers) adapts to give a high seas adventure with something for all the family.

Featuring two big stars - Anthony Quinn and James Coburn - and wonderful turns from the young child actors, the film much in the tradition of those rip-roaring pirate films of your youth (numerous Treasure Island adaptations, Mutiny on the Bounty), filmed on location and with excellent prodcution values. 

Pirate movies are like the modern day space films, once they hit dry land you yearn for the seafaring stuff; think of it as akin to Avatar.  The film is all the less once it hits the 2D universe, you want to see more of Pandora and be whisked away. 

Three children are being sailed back to schooling in England during the 1870s, however, once the ship is attacked by pirates led by their captain Chavez (Quinn), the children accidentally end up on the ship they have commandered.  This leads to tension between Chavez and his fractitious crew led by his first mate Zac (Coburn), who believe the presence of children can lead to trouble if old sea-hand superstitions are to be believed.

The film cleverly evokes a time of childhood and how important the role of adults in the development of perception is; the pirates learn to break down the harshness of themselves once the children embrace their different way of life.  Life lessons are learnt by both parties, even though it will end with the parties separated.

The DVD is out now from Eureka in a new HD transfer in the correct 2.35:1 ration, the features include a UK and US trailer, and English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired.

Twitter: @mastersofcinema and @steve_hills

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