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After her mother has died, Mary (Maureen O'Hara) goes to Jamaica Inn,
an inn on the coast, to live with her aunt Patience (Marie Ney) ... not
knowing that Patience's husband Joss (Leslie Banks) is actually the head
of a gang of looters who intentionally remove beacons along the coast at
night to make ships wreck, then empty them of their cargo and killing the
Mary finds out when the men hang one of their ranks, Trehearne
(Robert Newton), whom they think to be a traitor - but in an unguarded
moment, Mary cuts Trehearne, who has not yet died, down, and the two make
a daring escape ... and somehow make it to the local squire, Sir Humphrey
(Charles Laughton), where Trehearne reveals himself to be an undercover
agent, asking for the squire's help in stopping the looters. Thing is
though, Sir Humphrey is secretly the looters' head (which only Joss knows)
- and when he accompanies Trehearne to Jamaica Inn to arrest Joss and his
men, he does everything in his power to have himself, Trehearne and Marie
apprehended by Joss and company instead.
Soon, the looters are off to
the coast with Mary to wreck another ship while the squire finally shows
his true colours to Trehearne by simply walking out of captivity and
telling joss's wife to keep an extra eye on him - but Trehearne somehow
persuades Patience to let him go as well, to fetch a battalion of soldiers
and put an end to all the looting and killing.
In the meantime, Mary has
somehow evaded her captors and replaced the missing beacon with her own
burning coat, making the ship Joss and company were going to wreck to turn
away from the coast just in time - but the men of course find her out soon
enough, and immediately want to take care of her - but her uncle Joss
saves her from certain death (and possible gangrape), but is shot in the
back by his men for his efforts.
Mary manages to bring Joss home, barely
alive, and she and his aunt try to bring him around - without success -
and then the aunt, who was about to tell Mary everything she knows
(especially about Joss's involvement with the squire), is shot as well ...
by none other than the squire, who has made up his mind and decided to
make an escape to Greece - with Mary, whom he is planning to marry, even
if he has to tie her up for the rest of her life.
The squire and Mary
are already boarding their ship to Greece when Trehearne and the soldiers
arrive at the inn to arrest the looters, then they rush to catch Sir
Humphrey's boat, and only just make it in time. Finding himself cornered,
Sir Humphrey climbs up the main sail and throws himself to his death,
while Mary of course is saved.
One of the weaker (if more
prominent) films from Alfred Hitchcock's British period. Basically, for
this one, Hitchcock has married his thriller routines with elements of the
adventure- and pirate-movie ... but somehow, Hitchcock's cinema does not
work quite as well in a period setting, and some of the film's plot
elements seem awfully clichéd, which doesn't help the film too much
either. Still, if you dont expect Alfred hitchcock at the height of his
game and are in the mood for an old-fashioned adventure movie with an
enjoyably over-acting Charles Laughton, Jamaica Inn wil probably