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A High Wind in Jamaica (2004)

Anthony Quinn , James Coburn , Alexander Mackendrick  |  NR |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Quinn, James Coburn, Dennis Price, Lila Kedrova, Nigel Davenport
  • Directors: Alexander Mackendrick
  • Writers: Denis Cannan, Richard Hughes, Ronald Harwood, Stanley Mann
  • Producers: Clifford Parkes, John Croydon, Tom Pevsner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001I56FK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,403 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A High Wind in Jamaica" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Concerned that their children aren't growing up as "civilized" as they would in their native England, a couple decides to leave Jamaica and return home and return home with their family. However, when they inadvertently find their way onto a pirate ship, the children befriend, outwit and even frighten their shipmates. James Coburn and Anthony Quinn are thoroughly entertaining as two lovable rogues, and Deborah Baxter is mesmerizing as young Emily Thornton. Richard Hughes' adaptation of his novel is engaging and haunting in this unforgettable well-crafted film.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked pirate masterpeice March 15, 2004
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.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish they still made movies of this caliber August 8, 2005
By Anawake
I first watched this movie when I was a young girl. I have watched this movie at least 20 times and I am now purchasing the DVD for my grandkids.

This movie does not have the Hollywood glam that can ruin a movie. I cry each time I watch this movie and I am still moved by the story line. Anthony Quinn and James Coburn are at their bests. People who do not like this movie are usually too young to remember when movies were made without special effects and the scripts had to carry the movie, this script does that very well.
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68 of 80 people found the following review helpful
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!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of art April 2, 2004
By A Customer
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!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite savage enough October 16, 2006
A major influence on John Milius' The Wind and the Lion (Milius would even cast its leading child actress, Deborah Baxter, in his film), Alexander Mackendrick's film of A High Wind in Jamaica is a little too safe for too much of its running time to really capture the heart of childish darkness of the novel. It starts well with the white family praying to God and their black servants sacrificing a chicken in a voodoo ceremony as they both shelter from a fierce storm in the basement of their plantation building, setting up the conflict not just between different cultures but also the generations with the innocent and indifferent fascination children have with the things their elders find most repellent. Yet when they find themselves accidental hostages of Anthony Quinn and James Coburn's pirates, their childish games driving the superstitious crew ever closer to mutiny and the story closer to tragedy, it's somewhat undermined by the fact that these pirates are a surprisingly passive and well behaved lot. Yet when it finally does move into darker waters, it's surprisingly powerful and effective, and there's a real sense of loss to the ending. If the film occasionally threatens to go all Disney on you and isn't up to the standard of Mackendrick's best work, it does share his understanding of how children really behave with films like Mandy, and it also features a surprisingly beautiful full orchestral score by Larry Adler.

Fox's DVD is a good one, boasting a fine widescreen 2.35:1 and panned-and-scanned fullscreen transfers, trailer and trailers for The Black Swan, Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World and Pirates of Tortuga.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I love these types of old movies, so it brought back memories of childhood on front of the t.v....
Published 2 days ago by Pierre Bougie
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting . . . but not a pirate / high seas film
Frankly a bit of a disappointment. We were looking for a good pirate movie, and this one, probably because it's adapted from a novel, is an interesting premise, but lacks the fun... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Diogenes
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Not very exciting.
Published 3 months ago by block
3.0 out of 5 stars it a very touching story
well written and the cast was great as well, will this someday come out on blue ray .
will buy it for my family
Published 5 months ago by sloop j b
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful and borders on sexual exploitation of children
Horrible movie. Who are you people that give this thing four and five stars? I am tired of getting conned by you and end up wasting my money. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Talentseer
5.0 out of 5 stars Sexy Anthony Quinn and James Coburn movie
I watched this film as a young girl and was greatly affected by the storyline. I thought it was a little shocking and remember seeing it 2 or 3 times in the 70s then never again. Read more
Published 7 months ago by joyce
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
I thought I couldn't go wrong with two good actors in the lead. But the story never seemed coherent, it wandered around from menace to light-hearted. Read more
Published 7 months ago by D. Montano
1.0 out of 5 stars A very disappointing experience
The disk arrived in a torn flimsy white plastic shrink wrapped envelope. The jewel case was broken. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Janet Waite
3.0 out of 5 stars memorable
I hadn't seen the movie for about 40 years but it stuck in my memory, especially Deborah Baxter & Anthony Quinn.
Published 8 months ago by deborah shadbolt
5.0 out of 5 stars High wind in Jamaica
Great movie, love Anthony Quinn he was a great actor. Will recommend to friends, especially if they like pirate movies. Thank you
Published 9 months ago by Luz Elva Muniz
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