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The parents of children living in Jamaica, afraid that the kids are growing up uncivilized, decide to send them to England. But during the voyage, the childrens' ship is boarded by pirates and in the confusion the children wind up trapped on the pirate ship. The children view it as a lark, and one of them, a girl named Emily, develops an unusual bond with Chavez, the pirate captain. The superstitious pirates can't wait to unload the kids at the first port, but a tragedy prevents it, and Emily's relationship with Chavez takes a fateful twist. Written by
This film had a long and troubled history. Richard Hughes's original novel, published in 1929, is a dark and disturbing story, and James Mason, who greatly admired it, wanted to make a film of it in the 1950s, producing it for Twentieth Century-Fox as well as playing one of the leads. However, the studio saw it as a light-hearted Disney-style pirate adventure aimed at a family audience; several years after Mason's plans had come to nothing, they revived the project along these lines with Nunnally Johnson assigned as writer and producer. When Alexander Mackendrick was approached to direct, he was appalled by the travestying of Hughes's novel, and was able to persuade leading man Anthony Quinn that a more faithful and disturbing version of the book was a better idea. Johnson's script was rejected. Quinn used his (considerable) influence to help Mackendrick and the ensuing film was highly praised; it was, however, cut by the studio by about 25 minutes, which Mackendrick claimed had ruined it. He always insisted subsequently that he should never have attempted the film, which was a box-office failure. See more »
The hurricane at the beginning of the film is rather clearly created with a combination of wind machines and water sprayed onto the set. Despite the torrential downpour there is sun-dappling beneath the tree where Emily is looking for her cat, and blue sky and puffy white clouds are visible in the distance behind her and her father. See more »
I saw this fantastic movie for the first and only time as a child in a theater when it was first released in 1965. Since then, I've hoped to see it again and share it with others, but it is not available for viewing anywhere. Repeat, ANYWHERE. It never appears on American TV (I've checked, there are several web sources one can use to track whether specific movies are scheduled to run, and I've never seen any of them showing High Wind appearing on any North American station. In fact, the only time any of theses sources showed it being broadcast anywhere was once, on a network in Japan back in 1988). It has never been re-released for theatrical showings, and it has never been released on video. I even regularly check eBay to see if a "black market" copy might be available, but none have ever shown up.
Mt gut tells me the reason for this is likely the usual in these sorts situations: some endless (and meaningless) copyright dispute. I don't know if that's the case, but if it is, I wish the opposing parties would wake up and realize that (a) this release -- as great as it is -- is too old and unknown to be a big future money maker for anybody, and (b) that whatever that income might be, because of their arguing neither of them is making ANY money of this film.
A great movie, but one lost, in all likelihood because of greed. What a shame.
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