The more time I spend watching Alfred Hitchcock's British films from the 1930's the more I like them. The latest film I have sampled is 1937's "Young and Innocent". Released in the U.S. as "The Girl Was Young" this motion picture grabbed my attention from the compelling opening scene and simply never let go.
As is so often the case in a Hitchcock film the plot revolves around an ordinary person who finds himself caught up in an extraordinary situation. Robert Tisdale (Derrick De Marney) is a struggling young writer who is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when the body of a prominent young movie star washes up on the beach. Tisdale knows the victim and starts to run for help. He is spotted by a pair of young women and is ultimately accused of doing the deed. The victim had been strangled and the murder weapon appears to be the belt from a trenchcoat. Conicidentally, Tisdale owns such a trenchcoat but it had been inexplicably stolen from him just days earlier. With the circumstantial evidence mounting against him Tisdale manages to escape from police custody. He hooks up with an attractive young lady named Erica Burgoyne (Nova Pilbeam) who just happens to be the daughter of the local Chief Constable. Tisdale sets off on a desperate attempt to find his missing raincoat which he believes would vindicate him. Young Miss Burgoyne thinks him guilty at first but gradually comes to believe in his innocence. The balance of "Young and Innocent" revolves around the desperate search for that trenchcoat, the cat and mouse game between Tisdale and Burgoyne and the authorities and the slowly blossoming relationship between this most unlikely couple. In general, I found "Young and Innocent" to be a bit lighter than most of the Hitchcock films I have enjoyed over the years.
But the piece de resistance in "Young and Innocent" is the closing scene that ultimately reveals the true idenity of the murderer of this young woman. Tisdale and Burgoyne ultimate track down the missing raincoat which was in the possession of an aging derelict known as Old WIll (Edward Rigby). Old Will finally surrenders the coat but alas the belt is missing. Old Will insists that he was given the coat by a man with a very distinctive twitch in his eyes. Just when it appears that all hope was gone Tisdale discovers a small but important clue in the trenchcoat pocket. It was a box of matches from the Grand Hotel a place Tisdall had never been to. The trio immediately heads for the hotel in search of the man with the twitching eyes. For my money the closing sequence of "Young and Innocent" is one of the most unexpected and cleverly filmed finales in any Hitchcock movie that I have seen. Outstanding!
Overall, I found "Young and Innocent" to be the best of early Hitchcock films I have sampled thus far. I had never even heard of this one before. I urge you to give it a look. Highly recommended!
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Paul Tognetti (drifter51)
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Synopsis:A young starlet washes up on a seaside beach and is found by Robert Tisdall (Derrick Demarney). Running to get help, he is spotted by a group of local girls who report him to the police as the...A young starlet washes up on a seaside beach and is found by Robert Tisdall (Derrick Demarney). Running to get help, he is spotted by a group of local girls who report him to the police as the murderer fleeing the scene. Taken in for questioning, Tisdall quickly realizes that as a stranger in town with circumstantial evidence pointing to him, he has little chance of beating the murder rap. His escape gives him an opportunity to prove his innocence, and not unlike the Hannay character in THE 39 STEPS, he finds a young woman who will believe his story. The woman (Nova Pillbeam), however, proves to be the daugher of the local police constable, which generates a humorous set of complications. Nonetheless, the police and local authorities are not taking the escaped murderer lightly. The ensuing manhunt tests the wills of the father and daughter as well as the resolve of the innocent man. The film is based on the novel A SHILLING FOR CANDLES by Josephine Tey.