Taken in a purely literal sense the title of this picture is testament to the progression, or depending on how you look at it, regression of society as it evokes a much different reaction from those living in the 21st century than it would in 1937. It doesn’t help that it’s a Hitchcock production, leading me to speculate that this review will generate a fair amount of disappointed, misdirected traffic. For those who have landed here to learn more about a suspense movie filmed in the 1930s, I welcome you to read on.
Young and Innocent introduces us to Robert Tisdall, played by Derrick De Marney, who finds himself accused of a murder he swears he is innocent of. With no evidence to support his case he is quickly fingered by the authorities as the guilty party. With his prospect looking bleak Robert decides his only choice is to make a run for it. Fate comes into play as our hero manages to run into the Colonel’s daughter, Erica played by Nova Pilbeam. Erica believes in his innocence, offering to help him in his quest to prove it.
As far as nostalgia goes there was an interesting scene in which the young Erica has to crank her automobile (the old Morris) to start it up, something we often forget the world’s first motorists had to put up with. Moving on to dialogue, the film was sprinkled with its fair share of jollies: “jolly good”; “you’re jolly right”; and “jolly doughnut” (OK, I made the last one up). I couldn’t help but notice how the frequent use jolly throughout the film paralleled the often uttered “swell” in Kid Galahad. Another jolly good scene involved Old Will, a local panhandler, who, obviously out of place in the fancy restaurant he found himself in ordered a tea. When asked whether he wanted India or China, he corrects the waiter’s apparent ignorance by responding that he just wanted tea. Alright, I’ll confess that it was much funnier in the film.
As with any Hitchcock, the Young and Innocent doesn’t disappoint with its large helpings of plot twists, turns, and suspense. While entertaining, it won’t be remembered as my favorite Hitchcock film. It had a great opening (once again to be expected) yet certain aspects of Tisdall‘s character were simply not believable and the ending was a bit of a let down. It’s worthwhile to watch if you are a die-hard Hitchcock fan, otherwise I’d stick to some of his more well known films.
Jonathan’s Review: 3 out of 5 stars.