I knew she was too good to be true. Always so eager to work overtime, never made a mistake. Always pulling her skirt down over her knees as though they were a – national treasure. She seemed so nice. So efficient.
It wouldn’t be Horrofest if we didn’t have our annual Alfred Hitchcock pick! Now as you may know from previous posts, I love Alfred Hitchcock movies. I like that he has a variety of characters from all kinds of backgrounds and motivations, but typically they are just an average person who is caught up in an abnormal circumstance.
The use of lighting and shots in every film are always amazing:
Hitchcock also always knew how to pick a story-choosing one that is well done, mysterious, suspenseful, and adding in his own special macabre tendencies.
Now I love almost every film of his, but there are two of his films that I absolutely hate: Vertigo and Marnie.
Last year I reviewed Vertigo, and thought that this year I would review the other, Marnie (1964).
Marnie (1964) stars Tippi Hedrun, someone who had an intense and complicated relationship with Alfred Hitchcock. In their previous film, The Birds, Alfred Hitchcock was obsessed with Tippi Hedren and controlled her, he wouldn’t let anyone talk to her-unless they were filming, and just was plan awful to her, abusing her. She tried to talk to the studio heads but he was such a money maker they refused to do anything.
Originally this film was supposed to be for Grace Kelly, but she turned it down as the content wasn’t seen as something that the Queen of Monaco should be involved with. Hedrun was given the part instead and her tumultuous relationship with Hitchcock continued. When she later refused Hitchcock, he blackballed her. (If you would like to know more I really recommend reading Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto) I do feel like this particular material appealed to Hitchcock as he acts similar to the main hero, Mark Rutland, especially with the lusting after a cool blonde (what Grace Kelly was often described as). Like Vertigo I really think Hitchcock was working through his own feelings of lust and loss for Grace Kelly as she left him and Hollywood for Monaco, forever being untouchable.
This was also the only Alfred Hitchcock film Sean Connery was in, although I think it was terrible decision. Apparently the story is that Connery had concerns that he would be typecasted as a spy after being in James Bond. When his company, Eon, asked what he wanted to do, Connery said that he wished to work with Alfred Hitchcock, which Eon arranged. Hitchcock and Connery got along well during filming and Connery was quoting saying that he was happy with the movie, “with certain reservations.” Uh, I have a ton of reservations. This movie is terrible.
Mark Rutland, (Sean Connery) a wealthy widower who owns a publishing company, and meets with Sidney Strutt on tax business. While there he spots a beautiful brunette, Marion Holland/Marnie Edgar (Tippi Hedrun). Marion has no references, but she was gorgeous and charming and Strutt was hoping to take her out so he hired her. Not long after this event, she flees with nearly $10,000 from Stutt’s safe.
When Mark returns he discovers Strutt furious at the theft. Meanwhile, Marnie has fled to Baltimore where she takes care of her mother and boards her horse, Forio.
Some months later a blonde applies for a job at Mark’s company; even though her name is “Mary Taylor”, she is a dead ringer for the brunette at Strutt’s company. With no references and suspecting her of theft, Mark hires her. Now why would he do that? Well, Mark never wanted to take over the family business, he wanted to be a zoologist and studied accordingly. He sees Mary/Marnie as a challenge, an animal he can study and eventually capture. The imagery is really strong and annoying. I think because it was Sean Connery people didn’t think it was problematic, like how Rod Taylor’s character in The Glass Bottom Boat is truly terrible, but it’s all brushed over because it’s Rod Taylor.
The two end up dating, and Mark, plus us the viewer, discover that Mary/Marnie is afraid of thunderstorms, has bad dreams, and the color red freaks her out and causes her to have an “episode.”
Not long after they begun dating, Marnie steals money from Mark’s company and takes off; with Mark tracking her down and blackmailing her to marry him. All pretense is gone and she now goes by her birth name Marnie. Yep, this film is going from bad to worse!
To complicate matters, Mark’s sister-in-law is in love with Mark (with Mark of course being completely oblivious) and is highly suspicious of Marnie keeping a very close eye on her.
They go on their honeymoon and Mark wants to sleep with her even though Marnie has zero interest. He rapes her, believing that he can change her from frigid to passionate. So yes, when I say this film is really awful and truly terrible I absolutely mean it. Why would anyone want to play this character? Why would the studio allow it?! I mean they don’t show the rape but you know what happened.
The next morning Marnie tries to kill herself and Mark is like “gee why you did you do that?” Hello, you raped her!
Mark ends up saving her. (But does he really save her?)
Lil spies on Mark believing that if she can discredit Marnie and then Mark will choose her, it’s like girl you are so delusional. He didn’t want you after his sister died, he will NEVER pick you.
Lil does overhear that Marnie’s mother is still alive (Marnie told Mark that she was dead) and overhears the couple talking about Strutt. Lil invites Strutt and his wife over to the house for dinner and it blows up in her face as Mark is still very much in “love” with his wife. (He calls it love, but it is definitely NOT love.)
Mark wants Marnie to love him and brings her horse to live with them. Things go okay as Mark tries to pay back all the people Marnie stole from, and doesn’t rape her again. One day they are doing a fox hunt when Marnie is first set off by a red outfit and then her horse is injured when she is making a jump. With her horse wounded she grabs a gun from a neighbor and puts the horse out of its misery.
She has an attack at seeing the blood and freaks out trying to steal from Mark but can’t. She’s in a slightly comatose state when Mark takes her to Baltimore to confront her mother and issues.
It turns out that Marnie’s mother was a prostitute and once when she was a little girl she was having a nightmare. One of Marnie’s mother’s clients tried to help and Marnie’s mother thought he was molesting Marnie. Bernice attacked him but was injured by the man. Marnie woke up and tried to help, killing the man she saw hurting her mother. The sight of his blood caused her hatred/fear of the color red, and the connection of sex and death caused her to have issues with intimacy.
The film ends “happily” with Marnie ready for help and they going off together although I don’t think this relationship will last. Mark thinks blackmail and rape is okay, he’s a truly terrible person. Like I have no words to describe how vile he is.
I wish it ended with him dying.
With the content of this film, I will end on this:
I Am a Survivor of Domestic Violence and I Know Help is Out There:
Are you being abused?
It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:
Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
You know, I was having a hard time thinking of what movie to open with. What ’60s movie do I like?
Then I stupidly remembered The Birds. Of course!
This movie is one of the best Alfred Hitchcock movies ever. I simply adore this film so much. It has everything that makes up a good film. And I can just watch it over and over again.
So I don’t remember what exactly got me into Alfred Hitchcock, but I became obsessed with his films. I do know how I was introduced to The Birds. It was through Ann M. Martin, author of The Baby-Sitters Club.
I loved the BSC books as a kid and read them all even belonging in the reading club that sent you two books a month and a little newsletter. I don’t remember if the newsletter or a book mentioned it, but I remember reading a note by Ann M. Martin about how she loved the film The Birds and because no one she knew had a VCR they could only watch it when it was on TV. Whenever it aired they would plan a sleepover and watch it with friends.
I can’t stop watching!
I became consumed with the idea of watching it, did and loved it. It was the first Alfred Hitchcock film I ever owned, me ordering it and planning on purchasing one every year on my birthday or Christmas and having the whole collection when I was an adult (did not happen sadly).
Later, a friend of mine. knowing how much I loved it, took me to Bodega Bay so I could see it in person and all the sites used in the film. It was so cool seeing everything and I later took many more trips out there. Here I am with the house that is used as a schoolhouse in the film. I blurred myself out as there are a lot of weirdos on the internet, no offense dear readers.
They also used to have a museum full of things from the movie and marketing/promotional materials, but it always had weird hours, then they closed it, then they had an awesome shop which doubled as a mini museum-but then the person died who owned it and the collection moved. Here I am with an item when they still had it.
Back in 2011, Tippi Hedren actually came out to do a promotional thing at Bodega Bay. I lived near there when I was going to school, but unfortunately I could not go and meet her as I had scheduled a trip home to be with family. However I had truly amazing and awesome friends who went out and stood in line and got her autograph my DVD. I tried to pay them back, but they would not let me know the price if it or let me do so.
So while it was an amazing film done by an amazing director there is a sad twinge to the story as well. Alfred Hitchcock was obsessed with Tippi Hedren and controlled her, he wouldn’t let anyone talk to her-unless they were filming, and just was plan awful to her, abusing her really. She tried to talk to the studio heads but he was such a money maker they refused to do anything. And when she refused him, he blackballed her. Too bad she wasn’t able to have justice. If you would like to know more I really recommend reading Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies by Donald Spoto
So that’s enough background, let’s move on to the review!
The film is based on a book by Daphne Du Maurier, this being the third of her works being published into a film-following Jamaica Inn and Rebecca. However, this story and her story have nothing in common besides birds attacking. And before we discuss the film, let’s watch the trailer.
So the film starts off in San Francisco where we have Melanie Daniels, Tippi Hedren, going into a bird shop to pick up her myna bird.
***little side note Alfred Hitchcock strolls on by***
****Second side note, by the way there is no music track-just bird noises****
*****And can I just say she is wearing a stunning green suit. I love it and wish I owned one just like it, although I have nowhere to wear it to.*****
Melanie notices a lot of birds in the air, thinking it odd, but moving along.
Unfortunately her bird has not arrived yet. The shopkeeper goes to call and she waits along at the desk. In walks the gorgeous Rod Taylor, and Melanie decides the same thing. Pretending to be the shopkeeper so that she can talk to him and put the moves on him.
He wants lovebirds for his sister’s birthday. He can tell she is not a shopkeeper but is trying to embarrass her, asking her questions she has no clue to the answers. When he asks to see a love bird it escapes around the shop causing havoc. And the real shopkeeper comes out to try and catch it. He reveals to Melanie that he knows who she is and has been playing her the whole time. It turns out that she went to court over a broken glass window and he was there too. He’s a lawyer and believed she should have served time for what she did, not gone off scot-free because she is a wealthy woman with a famous father.
She’s offended, but not so that she takes down this handsome man’s license, has a friend of her father run the plate, buys him lovebirds,and tracks down the address of a Mr. Mitch Brenner.
She’s got it bad, and is slightly creepy-but I kind of understand as Rod Taylor is a dreamboat. Who wouldn’t want to run into him again.
She brings the birds to his house and plans to leave them outside with a cheeky note, but his neighbor informs him that Mitch is gone for the weekend to visit his family in Bodega Bay.
A little funny that neighbor knows so much, but hey this is the ’60s. People actually knew their neighbors.
So Melanie drives the curvy winding coast road to Bodega Bay, which I have done plenty of times, and I always thought it was weird that the birds never flap around but just move with the vehicle. They don’t act like normal birds. It has always been my theory that they are the demon seed that start the revolution against people. They are just too quiet and creepy.
This is the only video I could find. There was originally no music
She goes to the post office, which you can visit, so that she can find Mitch’s address. The postmaster shows her the way to go. When you go now everything is compeletly different, but you can still look across the water like she did.
The Tides restaurant still exists, although it has been redone as there was a fire. In fact they were allowed to use it for filming only if the main male character was named after the owner of the Tides, Mitch Brenner. So yes, that is how Rod Taylor’s character got his name.
Melanie asks for the name of Mitch’s sister, but the postmaster doesn’t know. He directs her to the school and the schoolteacher, Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), to get the actual info. Turns out the name is Cathy.
Annie asks Melanie a few questions about her relationship to Mitch. Hmm, sounds like there is some history there.
Annie Hayworth: Did you drive up from San Francisco by the coast road?
Melanie Daniels: Yes.
Annie Hayworth: Nice drive.
Melanie Daniels: It’s very beautiful.
Annie Hayworth: Is that where you met Mitch?
Melanie Daniels: Yes.
Annie Hayworth: I guess that’s where everyone meets Mitch.
Melanie heads out into a rented boat with the birds. She sneaks up to their house in heels, not an easy feat, goes into the house and drops off the birds.
Now Tippi Hedren may be a beautiful woman but I would be extremely creeped out if someone did that to me. I mean she doesn’t even know him but tracked down not only Mitch’s home address, but boyhood address. A bit creepy and stalkerish.
Mitch, however, is besotted.
As Melanie heads back across the bay, Mitch takes his car to meet her.
******Can I stop and go on a slight sidebar here? Feel free to skip over if you wish. I just love Rod Taylor in that white sweater. I don’t know what it is but he is extra dreamy.
Drooling is over back to the movie*******
So Melanie gets dive-bombed by a gull, and pretty badly hurt and bleeding. Head wounds are the worst. Here is were I guess it starts, the first shot in the revolution.
******Side note: The man who asks Mitch what happened, is the real Mitch Brenner.*******
Back to the film. They go into the resturant where Mitch tends to her wounds. She questions him, wile he tries to get to why she came. Melanie tries to play off her stalkerish by saying it was on the way to visit Annie, the schoolteacher, but Mitch knows that its a lie, therefore confirming to us that there is something between Annie and him, or was.
Melanie tries to play it cool, but she can’t hide the fact she had the serious hots for him. Come on Melanie, you tracked him down-don’t try to be haughty.
Mitch’s mom Lydia comes in and is introduced to Melanie. Lydia is the original ice queen and horror future-mother-in-law. Ouch. And Jessica Tandy is a great actress, one line “Oh I see”, packed with serious weight. Let the games begin.
Melanie is trying to head home but get tricked into coming to dinner as “she was staying the weekend” and won’t give up her lie. A girl has her pride after all.
She goes to Annie’s and wheedles staying there for the night. She tells Annie that she didn’t plan on staying long, which Annie replies she knows. That’s weighty right there, she knows as she didn’t plan on staying long either.
Melanie goes to dinner and meets cute little Cathy-friendly, cheery, adorable child. They mention that there is something wring with the chickens, They don’t like the feed…maybe because they are craving something else…like human flesh!
When Lydia calls her supplier it turns out her chickens aren’t the only ones on hunger strike. She agrees to see the farmer tomorrow to see if something is wrong with the chickens. And there is!
I love how Alfred Hitchcock plays the foreground and background against each other, both parts having things happen that go with the story, important, tension building, and just plan good.
We also found out that law and order Mitch is a defense attorney for “hoodlums and criminals”, interesting. Definitely a deep character.
Wow, there is more to him than I thought.
Cathy invites Melanie to her birthday party the next day, while in the kitchen Mitch and his mom start talking. They have a slight weird relationship as in someways his mom speaks to him as a child and in others their relationship is more spousal. Not that anything incestuous is going on, but as if that is the role that his mother put him in after his dad died.
We find out that there is a lot of interesting things in Melanie’s life. She jumps into fountains naked, tours Europe, and is always in the papers. A 1960s Sabrina van der Woodsen Debutante thats always doing something.
Mitch roots out the truth from Melanie about Annie, and starts goading her about her past misadventures, but Melanie isn’t having any of it. Good looks can only carry you so far Mitch.
Mitch Brenner: What about the letter you wrote me, is that a lie, too?
Melanie Daniels: No, I wrote the letter.
Mitch Brenner: Well what did it say?
Melanie Daniels: It said ‘Dear Mister Brenner, I think you need these lovebirds after all. They may help your personality.’
Mitch Brenner: But you tore it up?
Melanie Daniels: Yes.
Mitch Brenner: Why?
Melanie Daniels: Because it seemed stupid and foolish.
Mitch Brenner: Like jumping into a fountain in Rome?
Melanie Daniels: I told you what happened!
Mitch Brenner: You don’t expect me to believe that, do you?
Melanie Daniels: Oh, I don’t give a d*** what you believe!
Mitch Brenner: I’d still like to see you.
Melanie Daniels: Why?
Mitch Brenner: I think it might be fun.
Melanie Daniels: Well it might have been good enough in Rome, but it’s not good enough now.
Mitch Brenner: It is for me.
Melanie Daniels: Well not for me!
Mitch Brenner: What do you want?
Melanie Daniels: I thought you knew! I want to go through life jumping into fountains naked, good night!
We see the creepy birds watching from phone lines, congregating at the barn-waiting for the call to strike.
Not gulls but you understand the feeling.
Back at the house Annie and Melanie have brandy and Annie tells her her story and what happened. She met Mitch in college and fell in love, followed him here but Lydia got in the way. She kept them apart. She doesn’t want a daughter-in-law, she just wants her children. Annie didn’t want to lose him and stayed out here.
Then Mitch calls his ex-girlfriend for his new one. Ouch!
Melanie is apologized to and invited to the birthday party agreeing to come.
Both Annie and Melanie are surprised when a bird crashes into their door.
At the party Mitch takes Melanie off to the side with alcohol. She wants to head home as she has work. On Mondays and Wednesdays she works at the airport, on Tuesdays she takes classes, on Thursdays she has her club and lunches supporting a child through school, etc. Normal society things. Appears there is more depth to this party girl. Hmm…I wonder if the creators of Gossip Girl have ever watched this.
Mitch makes a joke about a mother’s care ad it turns out she has serious mother issues. Her mother abandoned them at age 11. A theme of mother’s issues is nothing new to Alfred Hitchcock as he himself had a ton and used the theme in many films, the most famous being Psycho.
At the party they are playing a game when the gulls show up and start attacking all the kids. Dive bombing and scratching. They try to help shoo them away and get everyone into the house.
Mitch is worried for Melanie ands invites her to stay the night there to be safe. And seriously, I think it is the love birds. Even with the cloth over them that should put them to bed as it is “night” they still squabble like crazy stopping only, when Cathy remarks on them. And just after, tons of sparrows come down the chimney attacking them. All cower in fear while Mitch tries to fight them off. Melanie moves Lydia and Cathy out of the room, to safety. After the attack and birds are gone they call the police, but there is nothing they can do about it.
The next morning, Lydia takes Cathy to school and then heads out to question the farmer about the chickens being sick. Lydia goes in looking for him and instead sees broken teacups, just like how hers were destroyed by the bird attack. The rooms are quiet and face the same destruction as hers and then she sees it!
Him, the dead birds, his eyes!
So freaky the first time I saw it. Oh, and still remains a scene that terrifies most.
Traumatizing children for all time.
Lydia races home and leans on Mitch, telling him what happened. Mitch heads over to the police that are called when he and Melanie have some very tender intimate moments. Relationships speed up when danger mars your every moment.
Lydia is worried over Cathy, with the large windows at school and the broken ones at the dead body looming in her mind. We see another side of Lydia as well, more vulnerable, worried-maybe Mitch comes home not just to help his mom but because without his aid they would loose the land. Hmm…thats one thing I love about this film, on the surface it is one thing but there are many sides to all these characters.
Lydia asks Melanie to pick up Cathy as she is very worried about her and Melanie heads out right away. Melanie goes to the school, but decides to wait a bit until recess. The kids are singing and she stays outside when we have this amazing scene.
Melanie runs in and warns Annie about the jungle gym. Annie tells them they are conducting a fire drill as not to scare them and directs them to run to different places. Of course the birds attack. Poor kids.
Melanie ends up in the diner calling her newspaper mogul father and telling him the story of what happened, All listening to every word she is telling her father.
We are introduced to Mrs. Bundy (BUNDY AHH) who is an ornithologist and for the birds, Giving us some serious information on the birds.
Traveling Salesman: Gulls are scavengers, anyway. Most birds are. Get yourselves guns and wipe them off the face of the earth!
Mrs. Bundy: That would hardly be possible.
Deke Carter: Why not, Mrs. Bundy?
Mrs. Bundy: Because there are 8,650 species of birds in the world today, Mr. Carter. It is estimated that 5,750,000,000 birds live in the United States alone. The five continents of the world…
Traveling Salesman: Kill ’em all. Get rid of the messy animals.
Mrs. Bundy:…probably contain more than 100,000,000,000 birds!
We get a bit of debate as a Captain interjects that he also hates birds and wishes they were all gone, them having attacked one of his ship captains. Melanie states that the birds are killers after the kids. Everyone keeps talking down to Melanie as she tries to tell them that it wasn’t just a few but a ton and a series of different kinds.
Mitch shows up asking for Kathy, who is at Annies. Just as they argue the birds attack again. Mitch tells Melanie to stay behind as they take out a guy pumping gas causing it to flow over the ground. An unsuspecting smoker sets it off and boom.
This causes a big sign that the other birds can see and they all come in swarming. The pyre’s have been lit.
I’m in shock
All go out of the restaurant (Why? Don’t know) and we have the famous telephone scene.
They actually have a telephone booth and Tippi Hedren mannequin at one of the shops there and you can get a picture with it.
Mitch gets her out and they head back to the restaurant. Hiding with others. Mrs. Bundy, I notice you are quiet. Not talking down at her anymore are you?
One of them is hysterical, blaming Melanie. In a way I believe she is right. Although it isn’t Melanie, but those love birds.
Mitch and Melanie run to the schoolhouse to get Cathy finding Annie’s dead body.
Cathy is safely inside, but utterly traumatized. Mitch carries Annie inside and covers her with his coat. Then the three speed off to the Brenner house.
At the Brenner home, Mitch patches up the openings, prepping the house for an attack. He notices that there appears to be a pattern. They attack, disburse, regroup, attack again. Why?
Melanie tries to contact her father but the lines are cut. The birds isolating them and making it unable for them to reach anyone or get even local radio.
Lydia starts to freak out wanting answers, the tension exploding. All are succumbing to it.
Cathy wants the love birds with her, NOOOO nor those evil things. Even now they are probably plotting.
Now they wait, trapped. Kathy gets so anxious she makes herself sick. Then they wait again. Hearing them, being taunted by them.
We have the first attack of gulls breaking windows and trying to peck through the door. Mitch being the one to take action and stop them. Then Melanie goes up to the attic.
Poor Melanie. they tend to her, but she is banged up. This scene was horrible to film. Seven days of birds being thrown at her, again and again.
Mitch uses this time of quiet to plan an escape. Melanie needs a hospital, so he and Cathy start getting things ready, not knowing what will face in the outside world or if they will be able to ever come back.
I like how Hitchcock ends the film with us not knowing if they make it out okay. We never know if everything will go back to normal. What or who caused this? I think it makes the film stronger and gives you the opportunity to create your own theory from each of his clues. If they had given us an answer, it probably would have been lame no matter what was chosen, we would have found faults. Sometimes it is better just not knowing.
So there we go, believe my theory or create your own. Either way watch the film.
This film changed how I look at birds. I never liked them before and hated them ever since. I’ll never look at another the same way again. Especially when they get in large groups or swarm overhead.
Not gulls but you understand the feeling.
After I showed this film to some friends who had never seen it, a few days later we were shopping at a store. As we are leaving, my one friend looks behind us at the store and goes ashen. She freaks out and tells us to run. As we are I look back and see a ton lined up on the store watching, then deciding to take off. We all ran as fast as we could to the car struggling in, and speeding home. Nothing happened, but a film like this just sticks to you.
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So this kicks off the beginning of Horrorfest VII. I hope you enjoy it and the spooks. thrills, and chills that are to come.
That place – Jamaica Inn. It’s got a bad name. It’s not healthy, that’s why. There’s queer things goes on there.
Alfred Hitchcock, practically everyone knows the King of Suspense.
But while most know the films The Birds; Psycho, Vertigo, etc: a lot of his earlier films are ignored. So while these may not be everyone’s favorite, these are films I love and enjoy.
Jamaica Inn was the last film Alfred Hitchcock made in the U.K., with him moving to the United States after this picture was completed. While it is not considered one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films, most people hate it even going as far to state it as his worst, I like it so I’m going to review it.
So the film is based on the historical fiction novel of the same name, written by Daphne du Marier (the same woman who wrote The Birds and Rebecca). Both she and Alfred Hitchcock were very displeased with the end result. Now why did this movie have so many problems? Charles Laughton.
Now don’t get me wrong. He is a great actor, I mean look at his filmography. However, as he produced this he was able to call a lot of the shots, therefore not allowing Hitchcock to work his usual magic. Laughton changed the character chosen for him, forced Hitchcock to hire Maureen O’Hara, made Hitchcock reveal a twist earlier than planned, etc. It’s hard when someone usurps the director’s power.
But not everyone knows how to wield it.
Anyways, I’m going to review, because I like it.
Now before we get into the review, let’s have a brief history lesson.
This film takes place in the 1820 and involves a ship wrecking gang. Wrecking was a major economy booster and began as early as the 14th century, ending in the 20th century. Certain areas, such as Cromwell where this film takes place, gangs would cause ships to crash into the rocky shoreline, by either creating false lights or putting out the usual ones.
When the ships crashed, the gangs would then salvage the cargo, sell it, and kill the sailors to hide their crimes. It wasn’t until 1870, that rescuing the sailors brought in a reward.
In order to hide these activities, the wreckers would spread stories about ghost, phantoms, or other supernatural beings existing in the area.
Jamaica Inn is also based on a real inn and pub. It was known for its smugglers, pirates, and ghost stories.
So this film starts out with something a bit unusual, a prayer.
“O Lord we pray the–
not that wrecks should happen,
but that if they do happen
Thou wilt guide them–
to the coast of Cornwall,
for the benefit of the
This real prayer for the 19th century shows how prevalent, wrecking/salvaging was.
So the film starts out with the pirates (as they technically are as they are robbing/plundering ships) putting out the lights at Cromwell’s shore during a huge storm, causing them to crash. The crew go out and salvage everything, leaving no sailor alive.
The leader of this group is Joss Merlyn, also owner of Jamaica Inn. He picks the ships, sells the goods, divvies up the profits, and makes sure every man follows his orders. He’s not looking to head for the gallows.
Meanwhile, Mary Yellen is traveling from Ireland to Jamaica Inn.
Mary is played by Maureen O’Hara, in her first big role. She’s heading to Jamaica Inn to be with her Aunt Patience as her parents died and she has no where else to go. She’s heading in a cab, when suddenly it starts moving extremely fast and passes Jamaica Inn.
What’s going on?
She tries to get him to stop, but he refuses to listen. He’s afraid of Jamaica Inn, as he’s heard stories of ghosts, pirates, thieves, and worse. Instead he overshoots it by miles, dropping her off in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere.
Geez, how rude. I mean just living a women stranded in the middle of nowhere in the dark?
Luckily, she isn’t too far from the Squire’s house, Sir Humphrey. She decides to head down there for help.
Meanwhile, Sir Humphrey is having a big dinner and fancy party for him and his friends.
Now the Squire loves beautiful things. He’ll spend tons of money on a figurine, a horse, etc. Some of the ladies at the tale are interested in landing him, but they aren’t young or pretty enough for him.
Mary comes in from the cold and demands to see the Squire for help. Sir Humphrey is annoyed/intrigued at the intrusion sand makes a bet the girl will be ugly. However, when he sees her, he is stunned at her beauty.
He then tells her to remove her coat:
I’d be like “heck no!” I’m leaving my clothes on.
But, she agrees, and he says she looks stunning. That over and done with, she asks him for help to the Inn. Sir Humphrey doesn’t want her to go, as the inn is full of ruffians, no place for a pretty, young girl. He would rather she stay with him.
Mary thanks him, but insists on going to the inn to be with her aunt Patience. Sir Humphrey agrees to help, and takes her to the inn.
When they arrive, Joss is creepily staring through the window at Mary.
He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.
She knocks at the door and when he opens it, he sticks a gun in her face.
Mary quickly tells him who she is, and then Joss tries to flirt with her, asking for a kiss.
Mary starts yelling at him and telling him to watch out, her uncle won’t stand for such rude treatment.
The jerk just laughs, and reveals he is her uncle.
Luckily, Patience comes out and stops his attentions for the moment. Mary is shocked when she sees Patience, she used to be so beautiful, but now is a tired, pale, weary, slip of a thing.
What happened to you?
You can tell by her pinched face that she is emotionally and physically abused by her husband.
Patience is happy to see her, but surprised. Apparently, they never received Mary’s letter telling of her parents death. They bring her in, with Joss making poor Patience carry the whole trunk. Mary goes to help, but Joss says no as he would hate to ruin a lady’s beautiful hands.
How could he flirt like that in front of his wife? To her own niece?
Mary has a fiery temper and yells at him. In return he picks up her trunk and throws it up the stairs, proving his strength. A true test of wills.
Don’t mess with me!
Downstairs the crew are laughing and being rowdy, Joss having Patience take Mary into the kitchen so that she won’t find out what’s going on.
When Harry, Joss’ right hand man, hears of a pretty lady, he tries to go see her and put the moves on her.
But Joss tells everyone that Mary is hands off, only for him. I mean to his wife’s niece? What a jerk and mega creep.
Back in the kitchen Mary and Patience are talking. Mary wants Patience to leave Joss, but she won’t. She ran away from him because she loved him, and even though he beats her, she still “loves” him. In reality, she has come to believe she deserves the beating, stuck in that cycle of abuse.
So back with the pirates. A recent addition to the team, Jem Trehearne, has been starting a ruckus with the men.
He believes there is a lot more going on then Joss is saying. He’s been keeping on eye on the merchandise ands how much they’ve received back and it is not adding up right. There is some that is being funneled elsewhere. Jem is also smart enough to realize there is no way Joss could fence these items on his own, there must be someone helping him. But who?
Joss sees how unsettled everyone is, and turns the suspicions back onto the crew; telling the group how easy it could be for one of them to take the product and waylay it, selling it later and keeping the profits. Now we have a witchunt, wtith everyone questioning each other.
He starts questioning how long each has been with him, coming up to Jem who has only been a part of the group for two months. Jem tries to turn it back to Joss and his mystery partner, but all have turned against him.
Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!
They seize Jem and search his pockets, finding gold. That settles it, he must hang.
Before they can get started, Patience interrupts. She never would do such a thing, except Mary has just told her the Squire, Sir Humphrey, gave her a lift to the inn. She’s worried that him being there, he might have seen something.
He tells Patience to take Mary up to her room to finish dinner, let’s Harry take care of Jem, and then heads upstairs to a locked room.
And in there is the squire.
It turns out that Jem was right all along, there is someone else in charge, the squire.
This was an area of the film Hitchcock strongly disagreed with. He wanted to wait until the very end to do one of his famous reveals, us finding out that the Squire, supposed good guy was the real villain. But Laughton was a big star and he wanted more screen time, and as he was also producing the film, what he said went. It is interesting to see Hitchcock as he is starting out and then later on, when his word was the law. Even when it drove his actress crazy, like Tippi Hedren in The Birds.
Anyways, yes the real criminal mastermind is indeed the Squire, Sir Humphrey.
Don’t let that pompous act fool you. He wines and dines the captains, finding out when ships carrying valuables are coming, sending word to Joss, who then gets the group out there to take care of it. Joss turns the goods over to the Squire, who sells the product taking a hefty cut, and giving the rest to be doled out the crewman. In some ways, this is very similar to Michael Crichton’s book Pirate Latitudes.
So Sir Humphrey is not happy with what he has, he thinks he deserves more.
Joss disagrees, warning him about the unruly crewman who think they are being created. They were lucky that Jem was a perfect scapegoat, but what if next time they men turn on him?
Them in this case
Squire tells him it doesn’t matter, and he better deal with the problem. They need to refocus as a new ship is coming in tomorrow night with lots of valuables.
Eyes on the prize.
Joss tells Sir Humphrey about Mary, and that he will remove her from the equation. Sir Humphrey disagrees, as he wants Mary to stay, that is until he’s had her.
Meanwhile, Jem has been knocked out and tied up. The crew are looking for the right beam to hang him, unknowingly choosing the exact one that lies under Mary’s room.
She overhears them talking about killing Jem, and watches them through a knothole, as they tie him up to the beam. One of the men, Dandy, really likes Jem’s buckles. Instead of waiting to play dice for them, Dandy grabs them and runs off, causing the others to chase him.
With them out of the way, Mary takes her knife and starts sawing through the rope, trying to free Jem. After he drops to the ground, she sneaks out of her room and completes untying him. She wakes him up, and he tries to get her to come with him, but she has to stay for her aunt.
However, they quickly discover Jem is gone. Patience figures out that it is Mary.
and tells her to run. She takes off but soon finds herself about to be caught, when Jem pulls her onto the roof.
How sweet, he couldn’t leave her behind to face everything on her own.
The two take off for the shore, Jem saying he knows a place they’ll be able to hide for a while.
Joss figures out who let Jem out, and sends everyone in teams to find them and kill them. He then goes to see the Squire to warn him.
Back at the squire’s home, we discover that he isn’t as rich as he’s been pretending to be.
I also suspect that he suffers from being bipolar or some other disease. They way he switches so quickly from anger to joyful, there’s something disconnected up there.
It turns out that his Butler is also starting to question what’s going on with the squire, as madness runs in his family.
Joss goes to him worried about what might happen with Jem and Mary, who they will tell. Sir Humphrey tells him to calm down as he is the only justice of the peace in the area. He kicks Joss out and tells him to focus on the ship wrecking.
Eyes on the prize
He continues to yell at Joss, and also tells him to leave Mary alone. That girl is his.
The next day, Mary wakes up in the arms of Jem.
She is suddenly freaked out as the realization of her choices hits her. She betrayed her family to save a man she doesn’t even know, a thief and pirate. She can never return to her Aunt’s home, all family is lost to her, and all she has is a pirate who could be cruel to her or hurt her.
She tries to sneak away, and steal the boat, but wakes Jem up, who is hurt at her not trusting him. I mean after all that you think they would have a bond.
Jem Trehearne: That’s women for you – save your life one minute, frightened of you the next. I guess I’m not a very pretty sight at the moment, but I don’t bite, you know.
While the two are arguing, the boat slips away and they are now stuck in a cave, and high tide will be upon them soon enough.
So now they are stuck. And in this scene we have some of the best banter. Jem is totally trying to make light of the situation. Mary, on the other hand, is angry at herself and the fact that everything is going wrong.
Jem Trehearne: Trust me to land myself with a woman. ‘Course, you did save my life.
Mary Yellen: I hope you make better use of it in the future.
Jem Trehearne: That’s a tall order for a desperate character like me.
Mary Yellen: No doubt.
Jem Trehearne: Smuggler and a cutthroat; that gives it.
Mary Yellen: Very likely.
Jem Trehearne: Do you think there’s any hope for me? Tell me, what all am I to do?
Mary Yellen: Anything you please.
Jem Trehearne: Well, I used to be a sailor. I can go back to sea.
Mary Yellen: I’m not in the least interested.
Jem Trehearne: You must be. Don’t forget you’re responsible for me.
Mary Yellen: I am not.
Jem Trehearne: Oh, yes. If weren’t for you I shouldn’t be here at all. You can’t deny that. When we’re safe in Trulo I’ll place myself entirely in your hands.
Mary Yellen: Oh, please be quiet.
I like Jem. I think he is sweet, funny, and pretty adorable while at the same time being a man of action, and having some honor. I wonder how he got mixed up with thieves?
So while they are talking, they fail to realize that their lost boat has just given away their position. Harry and two other crew members, realize they are in the cave and throw down a rope, inviting them up. They’re trapped. Either they wait in the cave and drown when the high tide comes in. Or they are saved and killed by the pirates.
But Jem won’t give up. He decides to instead have him and Mary swim to shore. They have a better chance of surviving the stormy sea, then staying in the cave where the men will let them drown or hang them.
They make it to shore, and Jem wants to go to town. Mary changes his mind, by pointing out the Squire’s mansion is so much closer.
When they get to the house, they interrupt a dinner with a captain.
The two come in soaked and telling the squire about what’s going on. Mary is sent upstairs to change into dry things, stopping to ask the squire for clemency for Jem, while Jem is regulated in front of the fire as he is not important. Go ahead and freeze to death or catch the flu and die, you’re not important.
But Jem will not be regulated to the side. He insists on speaking to the squire NOW. In fact he has something very important to show Sir Humphrey.
Yep Jem is not really a thief, he’s actual a cop and was just undercover trying to bust a ship wrecking ring. Before Sir Humphrey was just going to get rid of him or lock him up, but know that he is a cop with real officers knowing who he is and where he went. It’s time to change the game.
Mary overhears and runs over to the Inn to warn Patience, and try and get her to leave, but she won’t go. Soon Jem and Sir Humphrey arrive, Sir Humphrey playing along with Jem; as Jem deduces the how, where, and why of the whole situation. He just needs to figure out who the head man is.
He tries to persuade Joss to tell. This man is a tyrant that must be brought to justice!
Jem Trehearne: He [the head of the operation] remains aloof content to hire the scum of the coast to do his murderous work for him, thinking there’s no blood on his hands, but there is.
Jem leaves Joss with Sir Humphrey, as he goes to move the women upstairs. While he is gone Sir Humphrey warns Joss that tonight will have to be the last one, it would be best for both to take a little vacation. Then he hands over his gun.
Now think how much more awesome this scene would have been if this was the first time we realized that the Squire was the man they were working for. Hitchcock relly got gypped there. Oh, well.
So the men have heard Jem, and without Sir Humphrey as back up, the two are quickly captured and tied up.
Joss puts Patience on guard with a gun, while asking Mary along, just in case she had the urge to free Jem again.
Jem puts on a brave face and tries to convince Patience that if she gives up the location of her husband, then it will help him serve less time. Patiene refuses.
Sir Humphrey doesn’t even bother talking, getting out of the unknotted knots Joss tied on him and walking right out. After all, he has a ship to catch.
Jem is embarrassed and angry he could be tricked so easily, but continues to try to get Patience to set him free. But Patience says no, she loves Jem.
Eventually something must have worked on her, as the next scene we see Jem free and out to get help.
Meanwhile Mary is out with the crewman. They put the beacon out and wait, but while all are preoccupied, Mary runs out to fix the beacon. She gets in a fight with one of the men, accidentally breaking the beacon and setting her cape on fire. She hangs that up and saves the ship.
The salvagers are very angry!
Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!
They grab her and start tearing at her clothes, making threats about what they will do. Joss comes into save her, but gets shot by Harry.
Mary manages to get his body to the inn. There Patience is heartbroken and tries to warn Mary that Joss wasn’t the real leader, there is someone worse, when she is shot!
Sir Humphrey shot her as he didn’t want her warning Mary about him. He then goes and ties her up, giving her a hooded cape to hide it, and takes her with him in his carriage.
So Sir Humprey has completely succumbed to the insanity that runs in his family.
Jem is not too far behind the two, being able to get the regimental captain that was dining with Sir Humphrey earlier to use his troops to stop the men. They round up the ship wreckers and find the bodies of Joss and Patience. They set out to follow Humphrey’s trail.
At the ship, Sir Humphrey throws Mary inside a cabin. Telling her that she may have wanted to marry some normal, man and have a litter of kids, but that’s not what she should have. She should have the finer things with him.
Sir Humphrey: Good thing you have a man of sensibility, who’d rather see you dead first.
Before Sir Humphrey can make good on his threats, the regiment arrives. He tries to take Mary as a hostage, but they are prepared to shoot any part of his body they can. In order to escape he climbs up the sails of the ship, choosing to jump off and commit suicide then be taken alive.
Mary is shaken over everything, with Jem taking her and comforting her.
So was it as amazing as his later work? No. Was it still a good movie? Yes. I thought it was interesting, fun, a tad campy, but still entertaining.
Now this is a hard question. There are just so many things I love, how could I choose just one? Well I can’t, sorry. Instead I am going to list my top 5 treasured items.
5) My Library
I know this sounds like a copout, but it’s the truth. I have so many favorite books in there that it would be hard to pick just one. I have classics, mysteries, horror, romance, comics, my bible, childhood favorites, books that were gifts, books that were recommended, books over a hundred years old; it’s a lot and I value every one.
I love drinking tea and I have three special mugs. My first mug I won at the fair. The game was a bunch of glass cups and bowls stacked up in a pyramid, and the point of it was to toss your quarters into them. Whichever ones the coins landed in, you were able to take home. I won two glasses, a bowl, and a beer mug. But I don’t like beer, so I use that mug for my tea which is awesome as it is gigantic!
My second favorite mug is one I made after going to Disneyland with my friends. I wanted to bring back a souvenir, but couldn’t find anything I really liked. So when I got home I went to Walmart.com and made a collage mug with pics from the trip.
And my third mug, a pint sized mug that comes with a lid. It is AWESOME!
Some of you might think I’m strange or a loser, but I don’t care. I love Star Wars and think it is the coolest thing ever. I have a huge collection of all kinds of Star Wars memorabilia.
I have action figures (Barbie size) of Han Solo, Princess Leia, Obi Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and Chewbacca; a stuffed Chewbacca; a R2D2 mug; two commemorative coins (princess Leia & Darth Vader); all of the collectable Slurpee cups, 2 special edition Burger King crowns (one with the characters from the original and the other with characters from the new film); the graphic novel of Return of the Jedi; Star Wars Monopoly, two Star Wars watches; and much much more. It has taken me quite some time to hunt down some of these objects, and I would hate to part with them.
2) Tippi Hedren’s autograph on my copy of The Birds
So I haven’t gotten around to reviewing this film for Horrorfest yet, but will be soon. This is one of my all-time favorite Alfred Hitchcock films along with being the first of his films I had ever seen, quickly becoming the gateway to the road of my obsession. Not only was this the first Alfred Hitchcock film I have ever seen, but the first one I have ever owned, saving up my money and purchasing it, And believe me that took a lot as I was a young girl (about 7 or 8) and didn’t get an allowance.
Anyways, one year when I was in college I was looking at the paper and saw Tippi Hedren was going to be at Bodega Bay (where the film took place) and was going to be signing autographs. I had already made plans with my family that were unbreakable, but encouraged my friends to check it out, and if they did could they please take my DVD with them.
Long story short they stood in a massive line and had to pay (to this day none of them will reveal how much no matter how hard I try to get it out of them) in order to get the autograph for me. Not only is it awesome to have Tippi Hedren’s signature on a film that changed my life, but every time I look at it I am reminded of how amazing my friends are and how much they care about me. 🙂
1) Clint Eastwood Autographed picture
Sorry the pic is of low quality and a bit blurry (I purposely made my real name hard to read.
Anyways, yes you all now how much I simply adore Clint Eastwood. I think he is an amazing actor and a total hottie. Last year I wrote him a fan letter and sent a picture (in a self addressed stamped envelope) asking him to please sign it. I also gushed about how much I loved him as an actor. In December I was surprised with the greatest gift of all, my photo back with his signature. Not only is it an amazing piece of memorabilia to own, but it makes me feel so special to know that Clint took time out of his day for little ole’ me.