Jamaica Inn (1939)

Passed  |   |  Adventure, Crime  |  13 October 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 6,083 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 45 critic

In Cornwall in 1819, a young woman discovers that she's living near a gang of criminals who arrange shipwrecks for profit.



(screen play), (screen play), 4 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Horace Hodges ...
Sir Humphrey's Butler
Mary - Joss Merlyn's Niece
Hay Petrie ...
Sir Humphrey's Groom
Frederick Piper ...
Sir Humphrey's Agent
Emlyn Williams ...
Harry the Peddler - Sir Humphrey's Gang
Herbert Lomas ...
Sir Humphrey's Tenant
Clare Greet ...
Sir Humphrey's Tenant
William Devlin ...
Sir Humphrey's Tenant
Jeanne De Casalis ...
Sir Humphrey's Friend (as Jeanne de Casalis)
Mabel Terry-Lewis ...
Sir Humphrey's Friend (as Mabel Terry Lewis)
A. Bromley Davenport ...
Sir Humphrey's Friend (as Bromley Davenport)
George Curzon ...
Sir Humphrey's Friend
Basil Radford ...
Sir Humphrey's Friend


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 <pulp99@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

inn | ship | cornwall | orphan | shipwreck | See All (102) »


Adventure | Crime


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La posada maldita  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although Alfred Hitchcock was unhappy with the script and Charles Laughton's performance, still he experimented on this film just as he did on his previous film, The Lady Vanishes (1938). This film has background music only at the beginning and the end. Hitchcock and cinematographer Harry Stradling Jr. gave the film a darker look in order to make it very atmospheric. Stradling later worked with Hitchcock in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) and Suspicion (1941). See more »


In the first scene where the wreckers are assembled at the inn, Dandy's many tattoos are shown in close-up and are featured prominently as he recalls a past love affair commemorated in one of them. Yet in one tableau view of the gang from that same scene, there's not a single tattoo to be seen on his chest under his open coat. See more »


[first lines]
Captain: Can you make out the beacon light?
See more »

Crazy Credits

This is a film adaptation of the Cornish opera "The Wreckers" (1906) by Ethel Smyth, minus the music. See more »


Version of L'auberge de la Jamaïque (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

For once Robert Newton as a HERO!
29 August 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Most people tend to remember Robert Newton as Long John Silver, a role he perfected long after he gave up as an actor.

Jamaica Inn is an early film and here you see a fine looking Newton with the longest, darkest eyelashes I have ever seen on a man.

A side note: Not too long before Jamaica Inn was made, a scout for Sam Goldwyn spotted Newton in London and thought he would be perfect for the role of Heathcliff in the up-coming Wuthering Heights. Newton tested for the role and everyone but Goldwyn was thrilled. Goldwyn though Newton was "too ugly" to play Heathcliff, although everyone else thought he combined the emotional intensity and the black gypsy look that was perfect for that role. Eventually, Laurence Olivier was cast. He admitted that he always believed, his great friend, Newton would have been better, darker and more naturally dangerous as Heathcliff. I often wonder how Newton's career would have changed had he been given the role of Heathcliff.

Hitchcock takes advantage of the dual danger/kindness elements of Newton's personality to create a memorable hero. A young and lovely Maureen O'Hara is cast as the woman who comes to live with her Aunt after the death of her mother, only to discover she is in a den of cut-throats. She witnesses Newton being hung and just manages to save his life. Charles Laughton lends his special talent for seeming to one sort of person while actually being something quite different and Hitchcock rolls all these characters and a marvelous Leslie Banks, into a fine tumble of thievery and honor, love and loyalty, crime and punishment.

There are many of the familiar Hitchcock touches to move things along.

The climax is a bit over-the-top, but it affords Laughton a marvelous few moments.

Jamaica Inn has been re-made several times, but no one can replace Hitchcock, Newton, O'Hara and Banks.

40 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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