YOUNG AND INNOCENT

(1937)
With Nova Pilbeam, Derrick de Marney, Percy Marmont, Edward Rigby, John Longden
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

     Although generally not ranked among Hitchcock's classics, YOUNG AND INNOCENT is a fine little romantic suspense film filled with some of the director's most inventive camerawork to date.  The plot and central conflict of the film are established within the first three minutes, when a young man (Derrick de Marney) is wrongly identified as a murderer after discovering the dead body of his former lover on the beach.  He's Hitchcock's latest man-on-the-run, aided in his quest to prove himself innocent by Nova Pilbeam, one of Hitchcock's most uptight and angry female leads (and that's meant as a compliment in this case).  Some visual ideas in YOUNG AND INNOCENT would turn up more fully developed in later Hitchcock films.  Opening reaction shots of seagulls foreshadow THE BIRDS by some 26 years, and the closing sequence contains an uninterrupted tracking shot that zooms in from 150 to within inches of the twitching eyes of the real murderer, calling to mind the down-the-staircase shot in NOTORIOUS that ends with the key in Ingrid Bergman's hand.  Although not as complex structurally or thematically as his best work, YOUNG AND INNOCENT was nevertheless one of Hitchcock's better British-period films.   - JL

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