Thursday, February 5
(1939, Alfred Hitchcock) Even as Leslie Banks and his wreckers loot and plunder a ship they’ve lured onto the rocks, newly- orphaned Maureen O’Hara finds the coach doesn’t stop her at her aunt’s Jamaica Inn — but Charles Laughton’s luxury-loving squire Sir Humphrey Pengallan can take her in. Based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier, author of Rebecca and The Birds. “Laughton asked me to show him only in close shots, because he hadn’t yet figured out the manner of his walk. Ten days later he came and said, ‘I’ve found it.’ [It] was inspired by the beat of a little German waltz, and he whistled it for us as he waddled about the room.” – Hitchcock. “Several sharp and entertaining images remain vivid in our memories; the heroine taking down a hanged man, a pirate whistling a mazurka as he wipes his bloody cutlass on his shirt, the cariole rolling through the brush… The bizarre protagonist [is] admirably played by the innately and inventively prodigious Charles Laughton in a role actors dream about.” – Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol. Approx. 99 min. DCP.
Restored by Cohen Media Group/Cohen Film Collection, in collaboration with the BFI.
“Laughton knew he wasn't a handsome man, and he took that self-awareness as a license to go as wide and deep with a character as he pleased. That's not a liability — it's the glory of him. He is compelling from the first instant: His Pengallan is at least five of the seven deadly sins rolled into one, a cheerfully loathsome creature with wide-set eyebrows and a multitude of chins, Jabba the Hutt in a jabot. You want to look away, but you just can’t.”
– Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice