The suggestive title of this film is testament to how times have changed since 1937. And lest you think I chose to review this film in order to boost traffic to my site via lewd searches, especially when it’s a Hitchcock, I’ll stop you right there! I’ve been a staunch advocate of classic movies, even offering some recommendations for those just getting started. Now that we’ve cleared the air, 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 acquit himself of a crime he didn’t commit.
What I enjoy most about classic films is the ability to measure how times have changed in all manners of life. As far as nostalgia goes in Young and Innocent, there was an interesting scene in which the young Erica has to crank her automobile (the old Morris) to start it up. Had I not watched this movie, it would have never dawned on me that there was a time when people had to crank their cars in order to start them.
Movies are excellent at not only preserving accents, but also dialogue, in this case British. The film was sprinkled with its fair share of jollies: “jolly good”; “you’re jolly right”; and “jolly doughnut” (OK, I must confess, 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, a classic I recently reviewed.
A jolly good scene I should be scant to forget involved Old Will, a local panhandler played by none other than Edward Rigby. Old Will, obviously out of place in the fancy restaurant he found himself in, happened to order a tea. When prompted by the waiter as to whether he wanted India or China, he corrects the man’s apparent ignorance with a simple reply that he didn’t want a country, rather tea! OK, I have to admit, it’s like one of those joke that goes flat. I guess you had to be there 🙂
As with any Alfred Hitchcock fim, 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, which is to expected, yet certain aspects of Tisdall’s character were simply not believable. Considering it was a Hitchcock movie, the ending was also a bit of a let down. Any die-hard Hitchock fan should watch Young and Innocent to cross it off their list, just don’t expect any of the shocks and thrills you’d expect from some of his classics.