Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dvd/150: JAMAICA INN (Alfred Hitchcock, 1939)

Wanting to leave England to launch his Hollywood career with an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA, Hitchcock first had to make what would be his last British film for 33 years and he disliked it.

Irish orphan Mary Yellen (Maureen O'Hara's first major role) arrives at Jamaica Inn to live with her aunt but discovers her uncle is the leader of a ship-wrecking crew of murderous plunderers.

However the film is thrown off-kilter by the unabashed hamming of co-producer Charles Laughton as the local squire Sir Humphrey Pengallon.  Du Maurier was unhappy her plot was changed to accommodate his over-written role and Hitchcock was unhappy that for the first time he was faced with a star who could overrule his ideas.

The characterful supporting cast mostly follow Laughton's lead but Robert Newton is uncharacteristically muted to the point of invisibility.  He also resembles Harpo Marx!

Shelf or charity shop? For what it is... shelf

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