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JAMAICA INN

Director: ALFRED HITCHCOCK

99 minutes, U.K., 1939, Black and White, 35mm


This adventure story about smugglers in darkest Cornwall was Hitchcock’s final film before leaving for Hollywood, and the first of two in succession adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s novels. It was evidently a half-hearted project taken on to fill the gap between the triumph of The Lady Vanishes and the start of the new contract; he disliked having to humour the film’s self-indulgent star, Charles Laughton, whose company controlled the production, and he never cared for period films anyway.

However, many of the films that Hitchcock disparaged stand up as powerful and important (The Manxman being just one example), and Jamaica Inn is likewise a plausible candidate for reassessment.

The narrative moves fast, the casting of the young Maureen O’Hara gives it an extra Irish interest, and the playful final image is absolutely worth waiting for.

This event is part of The Genius of Alfred Hitchcock: Part Four, the final part of our complete retrospective of Hitchcock’s 52 surviving films (March 2nd – 31st).

 

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