A High Wind in Jamaica

From Academic Kids

A High Wind in Jamaica is a 1929 novel by Richard Hughes.

The plot concerns a group of children who are captured by pirates, and was considered somewhat daring in its time because of the way they respond to their situation.

The book was turned into a film in 1965 by director Alexander Mackendrick for the 20th Century-Fox studio, starring Anthony Quinn and James Coburn as the pirates who capture the children (an interesting note: one of the child actors is the author Martin Amis). The film is regarded highly today because of Mackendrick's direction and Anthony Quinn's lead performance as the pirate captain whose relationship with the children betokens a subtle change in his character, finally leading to his downfall and the pirates' end. Mackendrick (1912-1993) was best known as a director of the Ealing comedies The Man in the White Suit (1951) and The Ladykillers (1955). The material in A High Wind in Jamaica afforded the director an opportunity to combine a light touch with serious drama. Essentially, what makes the film fascinating is the theme of children growing up and their contact with a world of adults (the pirates) who act as if they are grown-up children (Quinn's performance wonderfully captures the essence of the adult child).

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