A High Wind in Jamaica
Batten down the hatches, a storm's brewin' in Jamaica!
This is Emily, whose story we'll be following throughout the movie. If she looks distressed it's because her cat has run off into the jungle.
Right away we learn two things about Emily. First, she's not to be trusted with animals. Anyone who has owned a cat knows they always want to be let outside at the worst possible times, so she should've see this coming. Second, she doesn't have much of an imagination. The cat's name is "Tabby" (pressumably because it's a tabby cat). I mean, come on.
But hold on, maybe I'm jumping to conclusions. A lack of imagination is not necessarily the only explaination here. Perhaps Emily simply isn't into anthropomorphizing animals. That or maybe the cat isn't a tabby at all and Emily is just being ironic.
She doesn't stick around to tell us.
And it seems Dad has the same knack for loosing his daughter as she has for loosing her cat. The coconut doesn't fall far from the palm tree, as they say.
Mom shouts directions at Dad. Dad ignores directions from Mom. It's not exactly the Swiss-watch of search & rescue operations but they DO eventually get on the same page.
Dad finds Emily up in a tree, one branch below Tabby.
I don't know whose idea of a treetop rescue is worse; the dad who pulls on his daughter's foot, or Emily who pulls on the cat's tail?
This girl REALLY doesn't understand cats.
Back at the house Mom is trying to calm the rest of the children by reading to them... probably not Wizard of Oz.
A while later, after Dad and Emily are back home from the failed feline fetching, the house begins to collapse.
It's a mad dash for the basement, but before retreating Dad rescues a few bottles of booze.
They get downstairs and immediately pop the corks. Mom has a swig, dad has a swig.
Even Emily and her brothers have a pull...
...which explains a lot.
Pretty soon everyone's smashed and it's just a matter of waiting out the storm.
The family that drinks together, stays together. That's right isn't it?*THE NEXT DAY*
The house is all but destroyed in the storm. The mother and father discuss it and decide that Jamaica is no place to raise children. The kids will be sent to England to stay with their Aunt. And just like that Emily and her siblings are on a boat, sailing away.
While on board they discover the various ways in which the crewmen keep themselves entertained. In this case, getting a monkey drunk.
The boys find this intriguing, the sailors find it hilarious.
They let the drunk monkey go and watch it climb around the rigging. The kids are all smiles.
I guess that's game over.
There's no time to mourn though. A shipped is spotted off the starboard bow, and the smoke indicates they might be in distress!
A life raft rows out from the burning ship, and a man calls for assistance.
But once all the raft's passangers are on board the ship the ruse is revealed!
Pirates in drag!
The crew is taken care of and the two head pirates, played by Anthony Quinn and James Coburn, work over the captain. They want to know where he's hidden the gold.
He won't give it up so they tie him to the mast and light a fire under his feet.
Classic pirate interrogation technique.
It's not long before he spills the beans, much to the delight of Quinn and Coburn.
It's just before the pirates are ready too take off with their loot that they discover what's been hiding down in the hold.
Now Chavez (Anthony Quinn) has a dilemma. Does he leave the kids to fend for themselves or does he bring them along?
No surprise really, he brings them aboard his ship. The crew doesn't want anything to do with them so it's up to Chavez to play babysitter.
At this point the movies becomes a series of piratey adventures.
The kids learn how to tie knots.
How to camouflage (super cool)
And how to dress like pirates.
And as the story progresses, the relationship between Chavez and Emily becomes more and more the focus of the film. At one point Emily becomes feverish, and it's Chavez who nurses her back to health.
Surprisingly, the movie ends, not out on the open ocean, but in a courtroom. Chavez and company are eventually captured and put on trail for their crimes. And it's Emily who finds herself on the stand.
If she testifies truthfully Chavez will hang, if she lies she is lying before God.
It's actually a pretty touching ending. And if you're wondering what she decides to do, just read these lyrics to the song that plays at the end of the film.
When a man is young and certain
he hopes that fate will send
love that has no crying
love that has no end
But when his life is turning
as it was meant to be
fate sends a love that hangs him
high on a gallows tree.The End
This isn't a great film, but the story is strong. I was glad I stuck around for the ending. Quinn and Coburn were excellent at keeping scenes interesting... the actress who played Emily, less so. I wouldn't really recommend watching this film, but if you do you'll at least see a lot of potential (the next best thing to actual greatness