12 February 2009

Hitchcock | Young and Innocent (1937)

Young and Innocent (1937)
written by Charles Bennett, Edwin Greenwood, Anthony Armstrong, Gerald Savory and an uncredited Alma Reville, based on a novel by Josephine Tey

Though there isn't any espionage in this film, it's another wrong man tale in the same vein as The Man Who Knew Too Much and The 39 Steps. As with Steps, I'm not a big fan of the main character. Robert, on the run from the police over a false murder accusation, is just too chipper about the whole thing. He's waltzes through the movie with a smirk on his face, smoothly flirting with the police captain's daughter. He was so overconfident about being able to prove his innocence, I ended up wanting to see him convicted at the end of the film out of spite.

Most of the rest of the film -- when Robert isn't the center of attention -- is quite good. The scene in the hotel club at the end, in particular, was excellent. I liked how Hitchcock turned the tables a little: the suspense in this sequence comes from the true murder's increasing nervousness at being discovered instead of the wrong man almost being captured. You almost can't help feel sorry for the murderer as he begins to screw up his drumming while his tell-tale face twitches uncontrollably.

I was surprised to read in The Alfred Hitchcock Story that this was Hitch's favorite British-era movie. I can see how the experience of making the film would've been fun. Hitch gets to shoot in some beautiful English countryside, he gets to play with toy trains again and that scene in which the car falls into a collapsing mine is quite exciting. It's often a nicely put together picture, but I'm still a The Man Who Knew Too Much fan when it comes to pre-Hollywood wrong man films. (7/10)

Watched the region 1 DVD released by Fox in 2008 as a part of the Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection. The transfer's excellent.