Acting as co-producer as well as star, Laughton ruled the roost even more than usual in this murky melodrama of 18th century Cornish wrecking, smuggling and thuggery, parading about in the top hat, boots and leering eyebrows of the local JP, and giving poor Maureen O'Hara the fright of her life. Hitchcock, who slipped in this Daphne du Maurier adaptation before leaving for America, clearly found it impossible to secure a strong grip on either Laughton or the material. And while the star himself effortlessly commands attention, the film around him too often collapses in a welter of rhubarbing locals, piffling model work, and the most cardboard sets Elstree could offer. The result is weird, but not wonderful.
Cast and crew