Thursday, October 05, 2017
Jamaica Inn (1939)
Who's In It: Maureen O'Hara (1939's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Black Swan, Rio Grande), Charles Laughton (The Old Dark House, Island of Lost Souls, 1939's The Hunchback of Notre Dame), and Robert Newton (Disney's Treasure Island, Blackbeard the Pirate).
What It's About: A young woman (O'Hara) moves in with her aunt (Marie Ney) and uncle (Leslie Banks) in their remote, coastal inn and discovers that the place is the headquarters to a ruthless gang of land pirates.
How It Is: I talked about this one at length on Mystery Movie Night recently, but the short version is that I'm very fond of this gothic romance/spy thriller. I'm still looking for a print where I can understand all the dialogue, but I like the story enough that I'm willing to struggle through that even with the lousy print I've got.
I'm a big fan of gothic romance anyway, but the sea elements make this one extra cool for me. And I love the sense of place in the inn itself. It's full of nooks and crannies, but I understand where they all are in relation to each other and it's fun to explore. Charles Laughton is delightfully over-the-top as Sir Humphrey and it's great to see a very young Robert Newton in a heroic role as a British spy who's infiltrated the gang. Newton's not especially memorable if you don't already know him as the future Long John Silver, but I got a kick out of him anyway.
Rating: Three-and-a-half out of five intrepid, gothic heroines.