Jamaica Inn is a 1939 British adventure thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s 1936 novel of the same title, the first of three of du Maurier’s works that Hitchcock adapted (the others were her novel Rebecca and short story “The Birds”). It stars Charles Laughton and features Maureen O’Hara in her first major screen role. It is the last film Hitchcock made in the United Kingdom before he moved to the United States.
The film is a period piece set in Cornwall in 1819, in the real Jamaica Inn (which still exists), as a pub on the edge of Bodmin Moor
The film is set in 1820 (at the start of the reign of King George IV, as mentioned by Pengallan in his first scene).
Over and above its function as a hostelry, Jamaica Inn houses the clandestine rural headquarters of a gang of cutthroats and thieves, led by innkeeper Joss Merlyn (Leslie Banks). They have become wreckers. They are responsible for a series of engineered shipwrecks in which they extinguish coastal warning beacons, causing ships to run aground on the rocky Cornish coast. They then kill the surviving sailors and steal their cargo.
One evening, a young Irish-woman, Mary Yellan (Maureen O’Hara), is dropped off by coach near the inn, at the home of the local squire and justice of the peace, Sir Humphrey Pengallan (Charles Laughton). She requests the loan of a horse so she can ride to Jamaica Inn to re-unite with her Aunt Patience (the wife of Joss Merlyn). Despite Pengallan’s warnings, she intends to live at Jamaica Inn with her late mother’s sister. Shortly afterwards, we learn that Pengallan is the secret criminal mastermind behind the wrecking gang; he learns from his well-to-do friends and acquaintances when well-laden ships are passing near the coast, determines when and where the wrecks are to be caused, and fences the stolen cargo. He uses the lion’s share of the proceeds to support his lavish lifestyle and passes a small fraction of them to Joss and the gang. Read More at Wiki