Alfred Hitchcock | Young and Innocent (1937) [Thriller]

Young and Innocent (U.S. title: The Girl Was Young) is a 1937 British film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Nova Pilbeam, Derrick De Marney and John Longden. It is very loosely based on Josephine Tey’s novel A Shilling for Candles (1936).

In the opening scene of the film, Christine Clay (Pamela Carme), a successful actress, argues passionately with her jealous ex-husband. He makes particular reference to Robert Tisdall, a young man staying near her at her retreat on the English coast. Christine slaps him several times across the face, but he hardly reacts, choosing instead to depart without a word.

The next morning, Robert Tisdall (Derrick De Marney) happens to be walking along the seaside cliffs when Christine’s body washes ashore. He runs to get help and call the police, but two young swimmers arrive just in time to see him racing away from the corpse. A belt from his raincoat, which had just recently gone missing, is found next to the body, further implicating him in her strangling. He is subsequently arrested and becomes the main suspect, partly because of a large sum of money Christine left to him in her will, a gift he was unaware of. Saddled with a despondent barrister, Tisdall doubts if his innocence will ever be established. He elects to take advantage of a crowded courthouse and make his escape.

Tisdall coerces Erica Burgoyne (Nova Pilbeam), daughter of the local police Chief Constable, to give him a ride in her Morris car. Though she is initially unsure about her passenger, Burgoyne eventually becomes convinced of his innocence and elects to help him in any way that she can. They are eventually spotted together, forcing both to stay on the run. Tisdall tries to prove his innocence by tracking down the stolen coat.
The duo succeed in tracking down Old Will (Edward Rigby), a sociable china-mender and bum that was known to have received Tisdall’s coat. He agrees to help them find the man who gave him the coat; unfortunately, all that Old Will can remember about the man is his distinctive eye twitch.

Upon searching the pockets of the coat, Erica finds a box of matches from the Grand Hotel, a place Tisdall has never been to. She is separated from the group, however, and taken in by the police. Upon realizing that his daughter has fully allied herself with the murder suspect, her father chooses to resign his position as Chief Constable rather than arrest her for assisting Tisdall. Nonetheless, Erica and Old Will go to the Grand Hotel together, hoping to find the true murderer. In a memorably long, continuous sequence, the camera moves forward through the hotel ballroom, finally focusing on the drummer in a dance band performing in blackface. Recognizing Old Will in the audience, and seeing policemen nearby (unaware that they have followed Old Will in the hopes of finding Tisdall), the man performs poorly due to fear and is berated by the musical conductor. A nervous breakdown, exacerbated by a drug he has been taking to try to control the twitching, causes the man to pass out in the middle of a performance, drawing the attention of Erica and the policemen. Immediately after being revived and confronted, he confesses his crime and begins laughing hysterically. In the end, Robert Tisdall and Erica Burgoyne are united, with Erica’s father smiling benevolently.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, produced by Edward Black, written by Charles Bennett, Edwin Greenwood and Anthony Armstrong, story by Josephine They, Gerald Savory and Alma Reville, starring Nova Pilbeam, Derrick De Marney and Percy Marmont.

Source: “Young and Innocent” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 31 May 2012. Web. 4 July 2012.


28 Replies to “Alfred Hitchcock | Young and Innocent (1937) [Thriller]”

  1. I have not yet watched this movie but read the comments. you thinned skinned silly asses who only see the worst in things really should just keep your stupid feelings to yourselves. this is not meant to be a soap box for YOUR personal  opinions. It is just so tiresome. Bet you just loved Al Jolson's first talkie but who the hell cares. It's a movie of it's time. Just watch it or better still just go away. I hate haters. Get a little maturity under you belts. This is for entertainment not your personal stupid opinion. if you don't have something constructive to say JUST SHUT UP

  2. Only half way through, but it's made it onto my "Watch Later" list so I can finish. Not one actor I have heard of, but definitely a good earlier Hitchcock film. I'm hooked and NEED to know how it ends. I suppose that's the best recommendation I can give it. Thanks for the upload. Sincerely, Laura-Lee

  3. Had never heard of this film. now I'm glad I watched it. black face now would definitely be offensive, but it was a different era. Black actors then only played cooks, train porters, etc., so many strides have been made. And no I was never a Al Jolson fan.

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