20 January 2015

Jamaica Inn

Jamaica Inn 1939
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Based on novel: by Daphne Du Maurier
  • Cast: Charles Laughton, Maureen O’Hara, Leslie Banks, Marie Ney
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Charles Laughton  Spartacus, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    • Maureen O’Hara – Spencer’s Mountain, The Parent Trap, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    • Leslie Banks – Henry V
  • Why?  A classic
  • Seen:  January 18, 2015, with YW and KW in our read-book-see-film circle
It’s not Hitchcock’s masterpiece.  All of the interesting characters from the novel are reduced or eliminated completely and the Bodmin Moor, so dramatically described by Du Maurier, is scarcely seen. A pity. It’s a good book and should have been a better film.
But the violent stormy dark Cornish coast is magnificently filmed in black and white. The basic story of a den of cutthroat smugglers and murderous wreckers based at Jamaica Inn is retained from the novel and is quite exciting.
The villain, no longer the sinister vicar, doesn’t even exist in the film. Instead the squire is the brains behind the operation and is played by Charles Laughton as a funny and convincingly dreadful gentleman.  It’s Charles Laughton’s film, really, and as such quite good.

2½ * of 5

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