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 ... See full summary »
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Theodore J. Flicker
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 had never even heard of this movie before. Probably wouldn't have watched it...but it was on AMC tonight and nothing else was on. I'm glad I didn't miss this one; this movie is very close to what "real" pirates, corsairs and privateers were like in their waning days. Of course there is a bit of artistic license, but the makeup of the crew, the scenes at the Port of Tampico, and the general feel of the film make it good fare, considering the constraints put on motion pictures in the year it was made. Many things implied, and understood behind the PG-rated facade of most scenes. The acting I found very good, the actors showed their contempt, inhumanity, decency, evil etc. (the facial expressions and acting of the madam in Tampico shows the ugliness behind the gilded facade beautifully) without having to "talk down" to the audience. Overall a very pleasant surprise for me, and I won't miss this one the next time it's on.
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