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Based on a Daphne DuMaurier story, this Alfred Hitchcock thriller stars Charles Laughton as Squire Pengallon, the head of a band of smugglers in Victorian-era England.
Laughton is compelling from the first instant: His Pengallan is at least five of the seven deadly sins rolled into one, a cheerfully loathsome creature with wide-set eyebrows and a multitude of chins ...
The result is weird, but not wonderful.
Jamaica Inn, while no classic, seems undeserving of its reputation as a failure.
By common consent, one of Alfred Hitchcock's poorest and least personal works, though it has some compensations.
Having set his own standards, Alfred Hitchcock must be judged by them; and, by them, his Jamaica Inn is merely journeyman melodrama.
This lurid story of violence and brutality is lavishly staged.
Superb direction, excellent casting, expressive playing and fine production offset an uneven screenplay to make Jamaica Inn a gripping version of the Daphne du Maurier novel.
It could have come across as strictly a work-for-hire gig, but it displays enough Hitchcockery to show he wasn't as disengaged from the material as he would later claim he was.
Jamaica Inn is a fraud perpetrated with great names.
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