Mackendrick paved the way towards the risky triumph of A High Wind in Jamaica with an equally unsentimental scrutiny of the innocent savageries of childhood in the underrated Sammy Going South. But his adaptation of Richard Hughes' novel was still received uncomfortably on its release, for widescreen buccaneering adventures were hardly expected to incorporate emotional and psychological resonances of the sort only recently locked up in the art-house visions of Lord of the Flies. Yet the colourful gusto Mackendrick brings to his yarn of pirate-captured children adrift between primitivism and Victorianism is pure cinema and pure entertainment, with comedy and tragedy ironically balanced in the combination of childhood dreams and adult dread.
Cast and crew
Denis Cannan, Ronald Harwood, Stanley Mann
Kenneth J Warren Anthony Quinn Nigel Davenport Isabel Dean Martin Amis Ben Carruthers Dennis Price Lila Kedrova James Coburn Gert Fröbe