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Jamaica Inn Blu-ray Review

Jamaica Inn Blu-ray

In honor of the film’s 75th anniversary, Cohen Films has released a dazzling new Blu-ray edition of Alfred Hitchcock’s underrated classic “Jamaica Inn.”

A young, innocent woman (Mary) is en route to stay with her Aunt and creepy Uncle at the Jamaica Inn. Unbeknownst to her, this inn is a shady front for shipwreckers, thieves, and murderers. When she discovers the horrors that are inside her new home, Mary tries to get out, but finds that is easier said than done. In addition to Mary’s story, there are key characters that include Sir Humphrey (the Squire and Justice of Peace) and Jem (a thief with a secret).

To be quite honest, I didn’t remember much about “Jamaica Inn” upon revisiting it. I had seen it well over 16 years ago when I poured over Hitchcock’s filmography, but didn’t recall this being one of my favorites. Looking on it now, however, it’s clear that I had overlooked this dark and gritty drama.

Part of the appeal of “Jamaica Inn” is that it’s a departure from Hitchcock’s other work. The 1939 drama is decidedly darker than a lot of his films and isn’t a part of the suspense genre that he essentially made his own. Sure, there are story twists here and there, but, again, they don’t feel truly Hitchcockian. As a film buff, it’s always nice to see what a director can accomplish outside of his comfort zone.

Perhaps the film’s greatest strength is the performance of Charles Laughton who plays the eccentric and dubious Sir Humphrey. It’s a very grand, scene stealing performance that elevates the overall film to another level. Without him, I really don’t know how the film would have fared.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? The 4K restoration of this B&W film is positively stunning. The print I had seen in the past was very dark, but this new print offers up so much clarity that it’s like seeing the film anew.

Audio Track: Uncompressed 2.0 LPCM Mono. How does it sound? While it sounds a little low, the audio has certainly been cleaned up here.

Extras:
* A booklet featuring photos, credits and a chapter guide.
* 2014 re-release trailer for “Jamaica Inn” and other Cohen Film trailers.
* “Shipwrecked In A Studio: A Video Essay With Donald Spoto”-Author Donald Spoto discusses the making of this film and gives behind-the-scenes information about cast members.
* A scripted, but informative commentary by film critic Jeremy Arnold.

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May 21, 2015 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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