Jamaica Inn (1939)

Not Rated   |    |  Adventure, Crime

Jamaica Inn (1939) Poster

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




  • Leslie Banks and Wylie Watson in Jamaica Inn (1939)
  • Alfred Hitchcock in Jamaica Inn (1939)
  • Stephen Haggard in Jamaica Inn (1939)
  • Jamaica Inn (1939)
  • Maureen O'Hara and Robert Newton in Jamaica Inn (1939)
  • Maureen O'Hara and Charles Laughton in Jamaica Inn (1939)

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast


Alfred Hitchcock


Sidney Gilliat (screen play), Joan Harrison (screen play), Sidney Gilliat (dialogue), J.B. Priestley (additional dialogue)

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

12 June 2006 | ma-cortes
| Laughton and O'Hara give sensational acting in this costume/adventure film by the genius Hitchcock
At the beginning XIX century , Cornualles , where rules and inquisitive judge , Sir Humphrey Pengallan (Charles Laughton) . There is going a young orphan called Mary (a gorgeous Mauren O'Hara is eighteen years old) to live with her uncle (Leslie Banks) , owner of the Jamaica Inn . Soon afterwards , she is realized the inn is the base of a band of criminals who are planning shipwrecks on the rocky coast for rob it .

This nice picture is a costume drama with action , suspense , romance , adventures , tension and formidable interpretation . It's a romantic story with exciting images narrated in amazing agility and swiftly ; thus it happens : murders , storms , shipwrecks , escapes , pursuits... The film along with ¨Walzes from Vienna¨(1934) and ¨Under Capricorn¨(1949) is one from trio Hitchcock's epoch tales . And it is the first of Daphne of Maurier adaptations along with ¨Rebeca¨ and ¨The birds¨. 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) . Hitchcock had problems with Charles Laugthon (1899-1962), both of whom had a difficult and obstinate character and they bore remarkable physical resemblance . Besides , the sadomasochist relation between Laughton and Mauren O'Hara reflects the tempestuous relationship Hitchcock had with this actress .

Evocative photography in black and white . 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 and Mrs Smith (1941) and Suspicion (1941) . This movie has background music only at the beginning and the end This is the last film from Hitchcock's British career . Soon afterward this movie , Hitchcock was contracted by the great producer David O.Selznick (Gone with the wind) for the direction of the hit smash ¨Rebeca¨. He started the plenty successful American career and no returning to England until ¨Frenzy¨ (1972).

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


In his later interviews with François Truffaut, Alfred Hitchcock remembered with annoyance how Charles Laughton asked at the beginning of the shooting to be filmed only in close-ups, as the actor had yet to decide the way his character should walk. Laughton came to Hithcock ten days later claiming to have figured it out: the walk was apparently inspired by the beat of an old German waltz.


Captain: Can you make out the beacon light?


Sir Humphrey Pengallen is said to be an old friend of King George IV, who has recently acceded to the British throne. However, the film takes place in 1819 and George IV did not become king until January 29, 1820.

Crazy Credits

[Prologue] "Oh Lord, we pray thee -- not that wrecks should happen -- but that if they do happen Thou wilt guide them -- to the coast of Cornwall -- for the benefit of the poor inhabitants." So ran an old Cornish prayer of the early nineteenth century, but in that lawless corner of England, before the British Coastguard Service came into being . . . . . . . . . . there exited gangs who, for the sake of plunder deliberately planned the wrecks, luring ships to their doom on the cruel rocks of the wild Cornish coast.

Alternate Versions

There are about eight minutes of footage missing from various unauthorized US DVDs of Jamaica Inn. This is due to them being bootlegged from old, worn copies of edited US theatrical release prints. The missing footage should appear at the end of chapter 14 (approx 00:51:55). As Jem and Sir H leave the room, the DVD cuts to Mary, Patience and Joss at Jamaica Inn. There's now no explanation as to how Mary returned there, or why Sir H and Jem (now dressed in a military uniform) are banging on the door outside. These bootleg DVDs are known to have footage missing:

  • R0 Laserlight Video/Delta Entertainment (USA, 2000)
  • R0 Westlake Entertainment Group (USA, 2004)
  • R0 Diamond Entertainment (Alfred Hitchcock: Collector's Edition Volume 1, USA, 2003) These authorized DVDs are known to have the footage intact:
  • R0 Kino Video/Image Entertainment (USA, 1999)
  • R2 Carlton Visual Entertainment Ltd (UK, 2003) All other authorized releases also have the complete UK version, as per the Alfred Hitchcock Collectors' Guide.


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Adventure | Crime

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