Set in Cornwall where a young orphan, Mary, is sent to live with Aunt Patience and Uncle Joss who are the landlords of the Jamaica Inn. Mary soon realizes that her uncle's inn is the base of a gang of ship wreckers who lure ships to their doom on the rocky coast. The girl starts fearing for her life. Written by
Claudio Sandrini <email@example.com>
Rich cinematic flourishes and a realistic atmosphere on screen
Even though it is one of the weakest works of Hitchcock, the film surprisingly provides rich cinematic flourishes. For a 1939 film, it captures on screen the atmosphere and dark mood of the novel quite vividlythe stormy scene, the cave, and the inn (with the name board flapping in the wind). It is another matter that the albino parson of the book is transformed into a squire (with an unbelievable eyebrow make-up) in the film who commands his steed to be brought inside his dining hall. Daphne du Maurier's novel was adapted for cinema by the trio of Sidney Gilliat, Joan Harrison and J.B. Priestley, and reportedly the author did not approve of the end-product.
As in many Hitchcock films there is a recurring reference to marriage. Here a good woman remains faithful to her boorish and cruel husband through thick and thin.
As in most Hitchcock films there is a lot of sexual innuendo without any sex on screen, especially when Pengallen (Charles Laughton) makes the young girl (Maureen O'Hara) his prisoner. (The only film where Hitchcock showed sex on screen was "Frenzy.") And as in many a Hitchcock film, a bad guy turns out to be a good guy. This is one of the rare films of Hitchcock where the director does not make a cameo appearance.
The best cinematic flourishes were-the focus on the thin hands of the 17 year old who cannot be shackled by the soldiers as the handcuffs are too big, the opening "prayer" that serves as a grim introduction and finally the last scene of the film: Chadwick, the squire's butler, who thinks he can hear his dead master calling him for help in death.
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