Young and Innocent (1937)    2 Stars

“A romantic murder-mystery drama!”

Young and Innocent (1937)
Young and Innocent (1937)


Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Nova Pilbeam, Derrick De Marney, Percy Marmont

Synopsis: A man on the run from a murder charge enlists a beautiful stranger who must put herself at risk for his cause.







Young and Innocent is considered minor Hitchcock these days, probably because of the way in which the light tone of the movie is at odds with its familiar Hitchcockian storyline of an innocent man evading the forces of the law as he seeks to prove his innocence. Robert Tisdall (Derrick De Marney – Things to Come) never seems to take his predicament particularly seriously, preferring to devote much of his time to wooing 18-year-old Nova Pilbeam’s character, the daughter of the police chief of the town in which Tisdall has been wrongly accused of the murder of a local woman found on the beach with the belt of an overcoat around her neck. Tisdall coerces Erica Burgoyne into helping him prove his innocence of the crime, and slowly the young couple fall in love.

It’s all veddy British, with most characters talking with the kind of accents that could cut diamonds. Hitchcock must have been in love with Pilbeam, judging by the inordinate amount of lingering extreme close-ups he gives her, but the movie suffers from its second-string cast. Perhaps they were bigger names in their day, but De Marney and Pilbeam are largely forgotten today. They’re good enough, but De Marney is no Robert Donat, and Young and Innocent suffers from its similarity to Hitchcock’s earlier movie, The 39 Steps. Nevertheless, it’s worth catching for the masterful way in which Hitchcock identifies the real killer in a crowded ballroom in one long shot.

(Reviewed 11th January 2015)

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