Jamaica, the backdrop of a movie scene

By Sergio González | 10:15

Rose Hall Mansion in Montego Bay, home of the White Witch legend

Until the arrival of Columbus, the Arawakan tribe living in XaymacaLand of Wood and Water– hunted and fished to survive. Living in a peaceful paradise, these people were gentle and trusting. Spanish colonization of Jamaica matches perfectly the cliché of naive natives welcoming and embracing their future tyrans.

A recurrent scene in many movies -depicting adventures in exotic lands- shows a group of natives or savages who are about to kill the main character of the film. He or she makes his way out by pointing to the sky and threatening to darken the sun unless set free.

A common eclipse becomes a powerful curse for uneducated minds.

This is inspired by what happened to Columbus in Jamaica during the lunar eclipse of 1504.

The first months in the island had been easy with helping natives providing food and water. But it seems they eventually grow tired from the sailors’ stealing and cheating -they were convicts after all.

Columbus knew the sky like the palm of his hand -as was the duty of any admiral- and using a ephemeris to do the math, met the Arawakans chief the first of March. He told him God was angry with their unhelping behavior and that the Moon will become inflamed in wrath. The natives run to supply food the very moment the Moon started to cover in shadow red.

Columbus got the title of Viceroy of the Caribbean and made Jamaica a feud for his dynasty until the offspring of the Sea Dogs -Drake and his fellow privateers- took over the island for the Commonwealth Republic of England in 1655.

Remains and memories of their life and the Spanish colonization in Jamaica can be found anywhere in the Caribbean island. But the industrious English people shaped entirely the island into what it is today.

The first ideas that prompt in everybody’s mind if asked about Jamaica are related to reggae, marihuana or sugarcane rum. All British imports and production.

Swimming in the Caves of Negril

If we look beyond the topics, we may find a true Caribbean jewel, full of natural wonders and killer views. The same we’ve been enjoying unnoticed in films since Kirk Douglas wandered the caves of Negril, in the Western part of Jamaica.

Negril was chosen too by Meg Ryan and Alec Baldwin to fall in love in 1992 during Prelude to a Kiss. Nowadays, a popular wedding spot for worldwide couples.

The love affair between film industry and Jamaica started in the 60’s, when Sean Connery became Mr. Bond. In the plot of Dr. No, the most famous British spy brought down Joseph Wiseman’s plans to destroy the world while flirting passionately with Ursula Andress. Roger Moore and Jane Syemour would save the world from Jamaica once again in Live and Let Die.

Ian Fleming, Bond’s father, located several more of his books in Jamaica. The turquoise warm waters of Montego Bay –chosen this 2012 by tripadvisor users as the best beaches in the Caribbean– and the colonial architecture of the old town in Kingston used to be his favorites.

It seems some of the actors and actresses that worked in Jamaica decided to move there during this time. Port Antonio creole population saw their green mountains trodden by Errol Flynn or Noel Coward. The profusion of plants and flowers in this part of the island is overwhelming, just like the Garden of Eden must be.

The 80’s would see some Whoopie Goldberg comedies and a young Tom Cruise dazzling the viewers of Cocktail from Reach Falls in Portland Parish.

But if we had to pick just one movie it would surely be The Blue Lagoon. Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins play as a couple of young cousins from Victorian era, whose ship has sunk into the waters of the Pacific Ocean. They struggle to survive and grow, living in a tropical paradise.

The intensity of the scenes as they discover their bodies in a rule-free society was carefully managed by the film producers -Shield’s hair was glued to her breast to prevent any accident.

Nevertheless, the plot of a free life and the looks of crystalline lagoons and palm trees hanging over white sand stuck forever in the Y generation.











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