Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|A High Wind in Jamaica|
Actors: Anthony Quinn, James Coburn, Dennis Price, Lila Kedrova, Nigel Davenport
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
No Description Available. Genre: Feature Film-Action/Adventure Rating: NR Release Date: 20-APR-2004 Media Type: DVD
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Classic story-telling in the best English tradtion . . .
Raoul John Campbell, | 04/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was the mid-summer of 1990-1991, here in Felix Australis. I was on the long trail from Melbourne to Adelaide, driving into the searing heat of a relentess western sun . . .I stopped at a dusty place by the name of Horsham, the chief town in the middle of the dry, arid, and sun-scorched land of the Wimmera, in western Victoria. I went to the local modern super-market, and happened upon a small heap of discounted books. Being a reader & a book-seller by trade, I turned the stock over and, to my delight, found a hardback copy by Chatto & Windus, London, of Richard Hughes' "A High Wind In Jamaica", among other marvels . . . I had never read it in all my fifty-three years! Three cheers, I thought, for the book buyer in, what seemed to me, this most unlikely place!Tired as I was, I read avidly into the night . . .What a marvellous experience in imagination! What superb use of the English language! Even the heat and discomfort of the opressive summer night assisted my entry into the wonderous tropical world of the West Indies & high adventure.Some years later, I viewed the movie on TV, staring Anthony Quinn, which I found to be an exhilarating representation of Hughes' story. However, I could not find a video anywhere and sadly, gave up the search.How marvellous to learn that it is now available on DVD!Full marks to the Screen-writer, the Actors, the Director & the Producer and all those involved, especially FOX! Thank you. Thank you, Thank you . . .And thanks to Richard Hughes, that genius of English story-telling, as well as to the Editor of Chatto & Windus, way back in 1929, who had the wit to publish it!Magic!"
Overlooked pirate masterpeice
Thomas E. Stazer | Houston, TX United States | 03/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ahh, after watching the widescreen of this long forgotten gem on cable, we knew that a DVD was inevitable. So this review is based on the Widescreen version shown on Fox.
This is a remarkable story of a group of children who accidentally find themselves aboard a pirate ship. This is not Disney fare - there are instances of brutality, terror, death and injustice - and an ending that is totally honest and devastating.
Beautiful locations, superb photography, gifted child actors. It goes from comedy to suspense to adventure without missing a beat. If you can overlook the awful miscasting of James Coburn, the movie is nearly perfect.
THE DVD: A very good transfer from excellent elements, given the film's age. The soundtrack is a bit muddy, but that's just the way it was back then. A bare bones release, sadly, as I'd be very interested in the history and box office performance of this very uncommon film. A magnifying glass is required to know which side has the widscreen and which has the pan-n-scan. For some nutty reason they only printed the ratio on one side - so even though you see the word WIDESCREEN, if you put it in with that side up, you'll get pan-n-scan. Put the DVD in "blank' side up to see the widescreen."
A work of art
Raoul John Campbell, | 04/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a movie that I've been waiting for to be released for years! A truly wonderful piece of cinema, one of those rare examples of a classic work of literature adapted into a marvelous film. The direction by Alexander mackendrick is near perfect; the cinematography by the master D.O.P Douglas Slocombe is masterful - vibrant yet haunting. Most of the filming is shot deck high, as though you are seeing everything through the eyes of the children. The performances are generally top notch (with a couple of exceptions) Anthony Quinn gives his career best with a performance of such depth as the greatly troubled Pirate captain. The child actors are phenominal, particularly ten year old Deborah Baxter playing Emily, such a shame she never really did anything afterwards. The ending is trully gut wrenching and dificult to watch. This is a movie that incites all the emotions. A rich tapestry of life and death that should leave the audience totally satisfied.The transfer to DVD is impressive: The colours are vibrant and rich, and the print is imaculate and sharp, apart from the first few seconds, where there are the expected dust specks and scratches. The sound isn't too hot; but I seem to remember, it never was.All in all, Fox have released another fine DVD. Other studios should take note and take as much care as they do. Well done 20th Century Fox!"
Unique, interesting, & surprising adventure.
R. Christenson | Pine, CO USA | 10/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I recently read the novel A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes, and found the book sort of a cross between Treasure Island and Huckleberry Finn, the former because the plot concerns children in the hands of pirates; but the style is more humorous and sophisticated, reminding me a bit of Twain, though more cynical, almost like Lord of the Flies.
The first quarter of the novel covers the lives of the Thornton children in Jamaica in the mid-nineteenth cetury. Most of that is absent from the movie, which starts with a hurricane. Then the children set sail for England and are kidnapped by pirates, and suspense builds through the rest of the film, along with a good deal of humor, some cynical, and some mildly shocking events - one accident and later an even more serious crime than piracy. The children, unsupervised, appear to be turning more evil than their pirate hosts. Unusual and amusing events depicted are just surprising enough to ring true.
This film version starring Anthony Quinn and James Coburn (as the pirates) follows the novel reasonably well, but as is always the case in adaptations the viewer can't experience the depth of the narrative, and some of the characters are not even established, let alone developed. I felt I might not have followed the story had I not read the book. However, there is a line at the end of the film that helps drive the point home, when a cab driver ironically tells Mr. Thornton that he must be proud of his children.
Overall the film is unique and interesting, a good find if you're tired of the same old formulae."