Young and Innocent (1937)

young and innocent poster 1937 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Early Hitchcock that feels like some of his later ones

Basic but fun

Movie Info

Movie Name: Young and Innocent

Studio:  Gaumont British Picture Corporation

Genre(s): Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  November 1937 (UK)/February 10, 1938 (US)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

young and innocent murder body

Robert, you’re about to become one of the most unlucky guys

When the body of Christine Clay (Pamela Carme) washes up on the coast, Robert Tisdall (Derrick De Marney) finds himself the prime suspect when he discovers the body.  A turn of fate allows Robert to escape jail, and Robert finds himself teamed with an unlikely sidekick in the form of Erica Burgoyne (Nova Pilbeam) whose father is the chief constable.  As Robert tries to convince Erica that he is innocent, they find themselves on a search for a stolen raincoat that could be the key to his freedom.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Young and Innocent is a suspense thriller and released in the United States as She Was Young. The film is an adaptation of Josephine Tey’s 1936 novel A Shilling for Candles. Following Hitchcock’s Sabotage in 1936, the film fell into public domain and frequently is found in multi-movie packs.

Young and Innocent is one of those movies that just completely feels like a Hitchcock film.  The movie has all the Hitchcock pieces and although you might not have seen Young and Innocent, it fits in nicely with Hitchcock’s bigger works.

young and innocent derrick de marney nova pilbeam

This is going to be such a meet cute when we tell our grandkids how I was wanted for murder

The plot of Young and Innocent reminds me a lot of Saboteur (1942) which has an accused saboteur searching for the evidence to clear his name with an unwilling woman or it could resemble The 39 Steps (1935) which has a man teamed with a woman who must uncover the mystery…in other words, it isn’t very original in the bigger scheme of Hitchcock.  The novel was focused on Inspector Alan Grant (who was the lead of the series of Tey’s books), but smartly switched it to the man on the run theme.  The movie’s ending is rather inspired and has some great suspense in the “will he be cleared or won’t he period”.

The cast is alright Nova Pilbeam and Derrick De Marney aren’t the most memorable leads and are pretty bland.  I like Edward Rigby as “Old Will” who gets pulled into the little detective circle by his ties to the crime.  George Curzon as Guy is both fun and over-the-top as the killer who sees the law closing in on him.  Hitchcock has his patented cameo as a photographer outside of the courthouse.

young and innocent hitchcock blackface george curzon

Not only are you a murderer, you’re culturally insensitive!

The movie doesn’t have a ton of innovative shots, but there is a rather impressive crane shot near the climax of the film.  As the characters search for the blinking eye criminal (aka Guy), it slowly zooms in over a large party floor to Guy’s eyes which of course give him away to the audience.  The reason the audience doesn’t know is slightly problematic, but also fits into the story.  Guy’s part of the band and the band is performing in blackface.  It is a little jarring (and also a reminder that blackface wasn’t an entirely just used in America), but it is central to the plot…that just doesn’t make it PC though.

Overall Young and Innocent is a fun and quick Hitchcock movie.  There are some basic Hitchcock problems.  It ends abruptly like many of his films, and it is rather coincidental that Robert discovers the body of a woman he knows and also happens to be the man who lost his trench coat that’s belt was used to killer her…but skewed logic and happenstance are pretty common in mysteries.  Hitchcock followed Young and Innocent with The Lady Vanishes in 1938.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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