A High Wind in Jamaica

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Year Released: 1965
Rating: 1.5

Proto-tragedy about several kids shipped from their parents' (destroyed) home in Jamaica to England for schooling who happen to get kidnapped by pirates (led by Anthony Quinn and James Coburn); I use the word "tragedy" because only one kid dies, and he's the only one of them with any talent (a teenage Martin Amis, pre-Rachel Papers). All "kidding" aside, this is a movie with an identity crisis: it isn't a coming-of-age movie (the focus is more on the pirates than the kids), it isn't much of an adventure yarn (like the beautiful Captains Courageous), its upbeat score and blustery performance by Quinn seem to betray the darker core of the source work (there are several curious moments between Quinn and Deborah Baxter's waif that border on sexual). I certainly agree with the conclusion that children are capable of lying to protect themselves, but something about the final courtroom scene doesn't ring true for me (or maybe it was never evident that Baxter's character was so morphed by the experience that she's suddenly capable of betraying the man who saved her).