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Jamaica Inn

Series info on UEN-TV

Alfred Hitchcock's "Jamaica Inn" (1939) takes piracy ashore with a tale about an innocent woman who stumbles into a band of depraved thieves when she travels to her aunt and uncle's seaside inn. These thieves are called "wreckers" for their method of obtaining their loot. Rather than take to the seas themselves, they sabotage the light beacons that mark dangerous waters. When the ships wreck close to shore, the sailors and their cargo are in easy reach.

The film is based on a book by British author Daphne du Maurier, who was inspired one night in Cornwall when a thick fog drove her to seek shelter at none other than the actual Jamaica Inn. As the writer waited for safer conditions, the locals regaled her with stories about the haunted inn's infamous past as a gathering place for smugglers. Built in 1750, the inn is still open for business, though it's now a more family friendly locale, offering a Smuggler's Museum instead of the actual cutpurses and murderers of yore.

Du Maurier also penned the novel "Rebecca" and the short story "The Birds", two other tales of suspense Hitchcock brought to film. Lucky for him that he got a second chance: though "Jamaica Inn" is well worth watching, Du Maurier was less than pleased with the adaptation of her novel and almost refused to grant film rights for "Rebecca". Word has it that the worst of the creative differences were the result of interference by producer and star Charles Laughton, who bullied Hitchcock into changing his character from a cleric to a dandy squire (which was quite likely more fun for him to play). Du Maurier considered her story "wrecked"—but what do you think?

The Science

Troy Jessup

Troy JessupTroy Jessup, Network Security Analyst for Utah Education Network, discusses parallels between internet crime and the piracy depicted in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1939 film “Jamaica Inn.”


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