Jamaica Inn - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Jamaica Inn Reviews

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August 10, 2017
Dull and forgettable are not normally words associated with Hitchcock, but here we are. The corrupt-elite storyline is much too blatant, and even the visuals are surprisingly unappealing. O'Hara and Laughton are engaging, but the web of complex characters they are woven into provide little lasting impact on the audience or Hitchcock's incredible career.
July 8, 2017
An unusual pirate story.
June 11, 2017
Hitchcock was outmaneuvered by Charles Laughton who gloriously struts his stuff (to a German waltz, according to Hitchcock-Truffaut) as the Lord who secretly backs the wreckers who cause ships to crash into the Cornish shore during storms and then loot them, killing all aboard. Although Hitch claimed that Laughton demanded more screen time, thus forcing a rewrite of the script, the Master still manages to create suspense (not surprise) as we know that undercover law officer Robert Newton is imperilling himself by running to magistrate Laughton to turn in the evil band. Maureen O'Hara drives much of the action even if she often has to bide her time in the damsel-in-distress position. Although there were clearly ship models in use, the outdoor scenes evoke the silent era (Hitch's training ground) and there is some fancy camerawork at the end, when Laughton is finally brought to justice. Not the major flop that some declare (and surely one of Hitchcock's least favourite films, by his own admission) but enjoyable nevertheless.
½ February 10, 2017
The movie is not as bad as people make it out to be. Still an alright Hitchcock thriller.
½ December 28, 2015
I liked this one, which isn't a favourite Hitchcock film for most. I like the atmosphere and performances. This was Hitch's final British film. Worth watching for sure for fans of Hitchcock.
November 15, 2015
This is a really bad movie. Bad acting and bad filming, badly follows the book it is based on. It was interesting to see one of Maureen O'Hara's early films and an early Hitchcock film, but that is about it.
½ October 23, 2015
Jamaica Inn is a disappointing film. It is about young woman discovers that she's living near a gang of criminals who arrange shipwrecks for profit in 1819. Maureen O'Hara and Charles Laughton give terrible performances. The screenplay is badly written. Alfred Hitchcock did a horrible job directing this movie. I was not impressed with this motion picture.
October 12, 2015
A kitsch thrill. You can see Hitchcock's German Expressionist Influences. A fun outlandish fantasy.
July 19, 2015
Oh dear, this was such a disappointment -- not even Laughton's eye brows could make up for the complete ruin of the book's narrative.
½ May 13, 2015
Hithcock's last British film before heading to Hollywood, and it lacks some of his passion.
January 27, 2015
One gets the impression there's some decent material in here struggling to find its way to the light, there's a solid plot and potentially interesting themes, but they are underdeveloped and the whole production muddied by the extremes of wooden and hammy acting from bland protagonists and cartoonish villains. There's some moodiness created from the palette of blacks, but Hitchcock doesn't seem able to find much suspense in the murky depths of the underworld of Jamaica Inn.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2015
Recently orphaned, Mary(Maureen O'Hara) travels to stay with her Aunt Patience(Marie Ney) but soon finds she lives in the kind of place that the coach driver wants nothing to do with. But luckily for Mary, Sir Humphrey Pengallen(Charles Laughton) makes up the difference and escorts her to the correct address. And then she almost wishes he hadn't. That's because Patience's husband, Joss(Leslie Banks), is the leader of a bunch of cutthroats, responsible for a bunch of deadly shipwrecks in the area, who have now turned on Traherne(Robert Newton), one of their own.

Riddle me this: When is a Hitchcock film not a Hitchcock film but in reality a Hitchcock film? The answer is "Jamaica Inn" which on the surface is just another period piece that gets off to an awkward start in introducing all the principal characters. But then it picks up steam, even with the dated material and primitive special effects, as there is more than one character who is not who he says he is. The fact that there is a little delusion mixed in is only icing on the cake, along with some excellent work from Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara.
September 3, 2014
Despite the good quality of the production, this is one of Hitchcock's worst films. It never settles on a tone of either suspense or comedy. The novel it is based upon is apparently much darker, but actor Charles Laughton forced his way into the film more than Hitchcock was interested (I suspect if they didn't start earlier that Hitch's attitude towards actors began here). The film lacks tension, and the script is all of the place, not to mention uninteresting. A forgettable mess, easily forgotten in the Hitchcock canon. It also happens to be the last film made by Hitchcock before he went off to Hollywood.
March 21, 2014
Stark and beautiful black and white cinematography and well directed Hitchcock film. Laughton is great and very eccentric and maybe an OTT performance O'Hara is fine but could with having more to do. The script has occasional erratic impulses but its a gripping film.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
March 14, 2014
Jamaican me [u]inn[/u]sane, mon! ...Wow, that was terrible, although it's not that much worse than the film itself, or at least that's what others are saying. I guess snobby critics can dislike a film that is not simply from the 1930s, but directed by Alfred Hitchcock, especially when the film evokes memories of future Hitchcock projects that are a much bigger deal. Retrospect should really help this film, because it deserves to be respected for being Hitchcock's first adaptation of a piece by Daphne du Maurier, the writer of "Rebecca" and "The Birds", and because it's hard to not think about a Hitchcock film set in a hotel and not get a little bit tensed up, especially when Leslie Banks is there. Forget "Psycho", because when I think about Banks as an innkeeper in an adventure film from the '30s, I can't help but think of "The Most Dangerous Game", but don't get too excited, kids, because this film isn't even as tense as "The Most Dangerous Game". Well, that might just be because the Master of Suspense isn't really making an especially suspenseful film here, or at least not on purpose. This film is so British that there has to be some kind of chilling ambiguity to this narrative, given that you can't hardly understand what people are saying and are therefore left wondering just what in the world is going to happen next. Well, at least Jamaican accents aren't that common here, which isn't to say that this film doesn't still have issues extending beyond what I can apparently describe as "suspensefully confusing" British accents, as it is indeed pretty flat, though not entirely, at least in concept.

The story concept behind this film is executed with intrigue limitations that bland to the point of dullness, but as a basic idea, I must admit that it's pretty interesting as a dramatic study on the tensions between classes of 1819, complete with some meaty conflicts and interesting characters, underdeveloped in storytelling, and brought about as much to life as they can be by a charismatic cast. Well, I don't know if it's being of dating or simply a shortage in material, but even the performances are rather underwhelming here, with a few being kind of mediocre, and yet, there's still enough charisma within and chemistry between the classic talents who make up this broad cast to reinforce some sense of charm, and therefore help in driving the final product. Now, the performances certainly don't drive the film especially far, like they probably would have if they were more consistent in their effectiveness, yet decency in the final product really is all but secured by the charm of its performances, and not just the ones found on the screen. Finding the film to be a disaster, possibly even before completing his duties as director, the great Alfred Hitchcock does not place all that much inspiration into this effort, but he does indeed try, not so much in crafting all that much atmosphere, let alone his trademark potent one, but enough to draw on the colorful elements in the material at enough times to keep you from completely falling out of the film. The moments of decency are, of course, few and far between in this limp affair, but they do indeed stand, found on the backs of interesting subject matter, charismatic performances and colorful highlights in direction, all of which do what they can, at least enough to meet the missteps and place some control on their sting. Really, when it comes down to it, the film is both too bland and, well, too charming to be close to bad, and while the strengths aren't rich enough in either quantity or quality, they join the limitations in contemptibility in all but saving the film as pretty fair. As things stand, however, the final product falls, albeit not that far, but far enough into mediocrity to be utterly forgettable, despite interesting ideas that aren't even all that thoroughly explored, let alone done justice.

I've talked about the film's interesting characters, of which there are many, so as an ensemble piece, this drama could have gone a fair distance, but it really messes up by simply being underdeveloped, and seriously so, failing to flesh out its characters as distinguished, leaving many of the potentially unique characters to run together, and not fulfill their ostensibly key roles in this narrative which thrives on the characters' depths and interactions. The characters would have been all but completely uninteresting in execution if so many of the performances weren't so charismatic, but the expository laziness that the overwhelmingly overblown screenwriting team of Daphne du Maurier, Sidney Gilliat, Joan Harrison, Alma Reville and J. B. Priestley seriously undercut the intrigue of this story, making it all that harder to ignore the limitations in intrigue that are even found in concept. Yes, the story is interesting, but the final product wouldn't be so easily mediocre if the story was more interesting, rather than light in scope for something of an adventure affair, as well as lacking in dramatic weight, despite its sometimes borderline abrasive efforts. I don't know if the film's histrionics are so much problematic because they're so severe, as much as they're problematic because they're just so recurring, falling over dramatic set piece after dramatic set piece, until it becomes too difficult to buy into them in the context of this melodrama as much more than cheesy, exacerbated by some camp. The film isn't terribly dated, but only so many of its attributes have aged with grace, and while the film is far from hilarious in its cheesiness, it's just so hard to take this film seriously, even when you take out of account the lack of storytelling meat that, quite frankly, could be forgiven if the film wasn't so dull. Constantly moving, at least with its dialogue, the film's narrative isn't all that overblown, but it is meandering, with near-monotonously do-little plotting that Alfred Hitchcock admittedly makes all the more glaring with an atmosphere that is present, with a number of highlights, but primarily bone-dry, maybe even cold, to the point of being, not simply bland, but just plain dull and distancing against a should-be entertaining opus that can't afford to distance you any more with all of its aforementioned problems. Undercooked, overblown and all around bland, the film has a charm to it that, when justified by some inspiration, all but saves the final product as yet another forgettable, but fair flick, yet when it's all said and done, the film doesn't do much of intrigue, and before to long, it becomes too hard to keep invested in it, in all of its mediocrity.

When it's time to check out, at least at the point at which the film would rather you would, charming performances and direction behind an interesting story concept are almost enough to save the final product, but through glaring underdevelopment and cheese, as well as sheer dullness to monotonous storytelling, Alfred Hitchcock's "Jamaica Inn" falls flat, as a borderline decent, but ultimately mediocre misfire to one of the more important filmmakers in storytelling, whose standards for inspiration are by no means exemplified here.

2.25/5 - Mediocre
½ February 13, 2014
Like many of Hitchcock's early British films 'Jamaica Inn' is particularly hard to fairly review based on the poor state of the film on DVD without anything remotely close to restoration going on. Extremely dark images, muffled soundtracks, and possible missing scenes (Maureen O'Hara goes from seeking dry clothes in Charles Laughton's house to being back with her aunt and uncle who wants to kill her at Jamaica Inn within seconds without any explanation) often make it hard to follow. Perhaps this is exactly the film that Hitchcock intentionally released...but I doubt it.
All of that being said, the elements for a truly fun adventure/thriller are present here and one can easily imagine it being remade as potentially great film. Now if only they could resurrect Charles Laughton and get him to reprise his creepy villainous role...
February 3, 2014
While it has a lot of the nice cinematography and style you can find in Hitchcock's films, this isn't one of his better pictures. The costumes and sets are nice, but the characters are bland, the accents are hard to understand, and the plot is slow and dull.
October 22, 2013
This is a film of seriously cheap nature and with a rather conventional plot despite some effective twists and turns. It's mostly engaging but not fully rewarding.
September 4, 2013
Surprisingly grungy for nineteen thirties cinema. Hardly to Hitchcock's stereotype, anyone who chances upon a copy should enjoy it for its strangeness in the director's repertoire. That it's degraded for that is very two dimensional.
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