Jamaica Inn (1939)

99 or 108 mins | Adventure | 13 October 1939

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HISTORY

This film was distributed in Great Britain by Associated British Picture Corp. Although the opening credits say "introducing Maureen O'Hara," this was not her first film. It was, however, one of her first roles as a featured player and her first release to the American market. A news item in NYT adds that O'Hara was discovered by producer Erich Pommer. This picture marked director Alfred Hitchcock's last British film before leaving for the United States to direct Rebecca (see below), which was also based on a Daphne Du Maurier novel. A news item in HR notes that Mayflower Films began production on the picture in Apr 1937, but shelved it in May 1937 to begin the film White Gold . An item in NYT notes that the lead character was originally a parson but was changed to a squire to avoid anticipated objections from religious groups to his licentious behavior. Materials contained in the BFI Library note that playwright Clemence Dane worked on a first draft of the script, and that Charles Laughton brought in J. P. Priestley to build up his part with additional dialogue. Du Maurier's novel was filmed for television in 1985, as a British-American co-production starring Jane Seymour and Patrick ... More Less

This film was distributed in Great Britain by Associated British Picture Corp. Although the opening credits say "introducing Maureen O'Hara," this was not her first film. It was, however, one of her first roles as a featured player and her first release to the American market. A news item in NYT adds that O'Hara was discovered by producer Erich Pommer. This picture marked director Alfred Hitchcock's last British film before leaving for the United States to direct Rebecca (see below), which was also based on a Daphne Du Maurier novel. A news item in HR notes that Mayflower Films began production on the picture in Apr 1937, but shelved it in May 1937 to begin the film White Gold . An item in NYT notes that the lead character was originally a parson but was changed to a squire to avoid anticipated objections from religious groups to his licentious behavior. Materials contained in the BFI Library note that playwright Clemence Dane worked on a first draft of the script, and that Charles Laughton brought in J. P. Priestley to build up his part with additional dialogue. Du Maurier's novel was filmed for television in 1985, as a British-American co-production starring Jane Seymour and Patrick McGoohan. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
29 Sep 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
12 Oct 39
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
27 May 37
p. 15.
New York Times
12 Oct 39
p. 33.
New York Times
22 Jan 1939.
---
Variety
31 May 39
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Pommer-Laughton Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Settings
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier (London and New York, 1936).
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 October 1939
Premiere Information:
London opening: May 1939
Production Date:
at A.B.P.C. Studios, Elstree, England
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 October 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9183
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
99 or 108
Length(in reels):
9
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As the wind whips the Cornish Coast, a band of cutthroats scuttle ships unlucky enough to sail past the Jamaica Inn. Into this air of foreboding comes Mary, looking for her aunt Patience, the sister of her dead mother. Stranded on the road to the inn, Mary meets Sir Humphrey Pengallan, a half-mad squire who is so taken with her beauty that he offers to accompany her to the inn. Once there, Mary is greeted by a leering bully of a man, who turns out to be her uncle, Merlyn Joss. Joss is the leader of the pirates, but secretly, Sir Humphrey is the real brains of the operation, and he orders Joss to allow Mary to stay. That night, Mary watches in horror as the pirates prepare to hang Jem Trehearne, whom they suspect of pilfering their booty. As the men fight over Trehearne's shoe buckles, Mary cuts the rope, and the two fugitives flee into the night. Unwittingly, they turn to the squire for help. Trehearne confides that he is an undercover police officer investigating the wrecks off the coast. The squire tricks Trehearne into returning to the inn with him, and Mary, overhearing the confession, rides to warn her aunt. While the squire and Trehearne await the arrival of the mastermind, the scuttlers appear and take them prisoner. After the men leave to scuttle another ship, Trehearne is shocked as Sir Humphrey unties his own bonds and orders Patience to stand guard over Trehearne. After the squire departs, Trehearne strikes a bargain with Patience: his freedom for that of her husband. Trehearne then rides for help as Mary ... +


As the wind whips the Cornish Coast, a band of cutthroats scuttle ships unlucky enough to sail past the Jamaica Inn. Into this air of foreboding comes Mary, looking for her aunt Patience, the sister of her dead mother. Stranded on the road to the inn, Mary meets Sir Humphrey Pengallan, a half-mad squire who is so taken with her beauty that he offers to accompany her to the inn. Once there, Mary is greeted by a leering bully of a man, who turns out to be her uncle, Merlyn Joss. Joss is the leader of the pirates, but secretly, Sir Humphrey is the real brains of the operation, and he orders Joss to allow Mary to stay. That night, Mary watches in horror as the pirates prepare to hang Jem Trehearne, whom they suspect of pilfering their booty. As the men fight over Trehearne's shoe buckles, Mary cuts the rope, and the two fugitives flee into the night. Unwittingly, they turn to the squire for help. Trehearne confides that he is an undercover police officer investigating the wrecks off the coast. The squire tricks Trehearne into returning to the inn with him, and Mary, overhearing the confession, rides to warn her aunt. While the squire and Trehearne await the arrival of the mastermind, the scuttlers appear and take them prisoner. After the men leave to scuttle another ship, Trehearne is shocked as Sir Humphrey unties his own bonds and orders Patience to stand guard over Trehearne. After the squire departs, Trehearne strikes a bargain with Patience: his freedom for that of her husband. Trehearne then rides for help as Mary attempts to warn the unsuspecting ship. Enraged, the men shoot Joss as he tries to protect Mary from their wrath. She then manages to return to the inn, where she is kidnapped by the crazed squire, who carries her off to his ship. Returning with the troops in the nick of time, Trehearne captures the scuttlers and rescues Mary as the squire leaps to his death. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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