Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 01/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While rarely mentioned in the same breath with "The 39 Steps" or "The Lady Vanishes," this is my favorite film from Hitchcock's British film catalog. It has charm, a great story, lots of atmosphere, a fine romance, and best of all, the wonderful Nova Pilbeam. Based on a Josephine Tey novel, "A Schilling For Candles," this story of an innocent man wrongly accused of murder and the young girl who aids his search for proof that he did not commit the crime is a ton of fun.
This is a top-notch British production from the period. There is good photography from Bernard Knowles and a nice score from Louis Levy to make this one of Hitchcock's most enjoyable outings. Nova Pilbeam was a lovely young British actress who had worked for the director in a smaller role three years earlier, in his first version of "The Man Who Knew Too Much." She sparkles here as a strong and independent young heroine who comes to believe in someone and risks everything to aid him.
Derrick De Marney also shines as a young writer named Robert who happens upon the body of famous cinema star, Christine Clay (Pamela Carme), washed up on the beach. He had a passing acquaintance with her since she had purchased one of his stories. He is seen running from the scene to get help, and when it is discovered she was strangled with a belt from a coat he had stolen from him at a place called Tom's Hat, things don't look good for our hero.
It looks even worse that she left 1,200 pounds to him in her will, and when his attorney appears to be a boob, Robert escapes in order to prove his innocence. He gets the reluctant help of the Chief Constaple's daughter, Erica Burgoyne (Nova Pilbeam), in escaping to an old mill for the night, taking the chance she will not turn him in to her father. There is a romantic attraction between the two, and the independent young Erica decides she must help him a little to avoid the gallows.
When she comes to bring him food and drive him around to search for the man who stole the jacket which will prove his innocence, she and her little dog get in deeper and deeper. There finally comes a turning point when Erica throws caution to the wind and zealously helps Robert pursue the man with a twitch in his eye who murdered Christine Clay. It becomes apparent to both her father and the police that she is aiding him willingly and not under duress. Since they have already slipped up and aroused suspicions at a birthday party her aunt and uncle were thowing for her niece, they know they can not remain at large forever and it becomes a race with time to find the real killer.
A long desired quality release of this film from a major studio has finally been realized. Interviews of Hitchcock by Bogdanovich and Truffaut accompany a still gallery and a restoration comparison. Commentary with Hitchcock authors Stephen Rebello and Bill Krohn are included as well. According to releases, it will also be close captioned and have both French and Spanish subtitles for those in need of them. Hitchcock creates a very nice atmosphere of an English coastal town in the 1930's and all his touches are in evidence even at this early juncture. This is one of the great Hitchcock films from his British period and stands with the best of them. Nova Pilbeam is terrific here and it is a real shame she did not get to make more films like this one. If you enjoyed "The 39 Steps" you will probably like this as well. It does not quite have the tension of that great film but has a little more romance and charm. A real winner!"
Great film, okay transfer
melvin | Central Il | 02/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I review these Laserlite Hitchcock DVDs, I tend to put more empphasis on the film transfers rather than the film itself, mainly because every other film review available talks the plot to death. So I write my reviews with the assumption that the reader already knows the plot of the film. ...As far as the film goes, this is one of my personal favorite Hitchcock films. It's a terrific re-working of The 39 Steps about a man who is accused of a murder he didn't commit and must flee from the law and find the real culprit in order to prove himself innocent. It was a formula that would become a regular part of the Hitchcock canon for years to come....As far as the DVD goes, it's just okay. Once you get past the mediocre Tony Curtis intro, you get enjoy the crackles and pops, light-to-dark contrast jumps and cut-off lines of dialouge and jump-cuts resulting from missing frames that most any other home video edition of the film will provide to you. This isn't to say it's a terrible and unwatchable transfer. This is definately no "Murder" or "Skin Game," but it's also a disappointment when compared to Laserlite transfers of "Sabotage" and "Rich and Strange." The movie never at any point becomes unbearable from the transfer, but Laserlite has done better....Still, it's probably the best copy available so far on DVD, but I would ultimately recomend Criterion's Laserdisc, if you still have a laserdisc player, until Criterion reissues this on DVD.extra features include a trailer for a later Hitchcock film and a foregettable episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents that he did not direct. Laserlite cannot be bashed for this, as it is a better bonus than just nothing.4 1/2 stars to Hitchcock for an excellent film, 3 stars to Laserlight for trying hard, but not hitting the mark every time."
Brooklyn GV | Brooklyn NY | 08/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe it's because this film is so overlooked and untouched by critics that makes it my favorite pre hollywood Hitchcock film. There's no need to go over the plot yet again. It's Hitchcock's love for film making. It's his charming characters especially Nova Pilbean the young girl from The Man Who Knew Too Much. It's all those little Hitchcock tricks and wit that would blossom in a few short years. Try not to miss this one.... Is there any reason why this film and other Hitchcock films have not been given a first rate remastering on dvd. I'm still waiting."
A fine but not well known Hitchcock effort
S. M. Struhl | Wilmette, IL United States | 02/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This has many of the elements that you can see in Hitchcock's better-known films, including the exceptional use of the camera and black-and-white composition, the interesting eccentric details--and of course, the plot involving an innocent man who is wrongly accused of a crime. The cast does not consist of well known names, but nonetheless they do good jobs with their performances. The resolution of the story could have been stronger, but this is overall a very engaging and entertaining film, well worth the modest price. The transfer is clear and from better prints than you usually see, and the sound about as good as one can expect from this vintage (1937). If you avoid the painful brief introduction and conclusion by Tony Curtis--who seems to be in very bad health--you will find much to enjoy here."
The Girl is Young
Jeremy W. Forstadt | Pawtucket, RI | 11/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of Alfred Hitchcock's early British films, YOUNG AND INNOCENT is fairly light and innocent itself, but its theme is one that would be revisited many times by Hitchcock: an innocent man is accused of a brutal murder and must go on the run to prove his innocence. It is no secret that Hitchcock himself harbored a healthy mistrust, even dislike of the police, and this is one of the earliest of his many films in which a police investigation is misguided and it is ultimately up to his endangered protagonist to solve the case at hand.
Derrick De Marney plays the young man, Robert Tisdall, who stands accused of the vile crime and Nova Pilbeam plays the daughter of the local police constable. She first falls into reluctantly aiding the boy and, ultimately, she falls in love with him. Just three years earlier, Pilbeam had played the abducted child role in Hitchcock's first version of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH; she is playing her first adult role here and is quite effective as the resourceful young woman Erica.
YOUNG AND INNOCENT is a charming film about a young romance, albeit in the unexpected setting of a fugitive hunt. De Marney and Pilbeam can't help but be extremely likeable in their roles. The plot holds sufficient interest to keep a modern audience engaged throughout the film and the outcome of the film is, of course, satisfying.
Hitchcock's movie-making craft is in full maturity in this film. Apart from the aforementioned plot elements which would become the staple of his work, Hitchcock's camera work in YOUNG AND INNOCENT is innovative and effective and, as he has explained, "[substitutes] the language of the camera for dialogue," a skill for which he was later much renowned.
Look for Hitchcock's bit part in YOUNG AND INNOCENT as he plays a press photographer fumbling with his camera in one of his most amusing cameos. Anyone who has a passing interest in the films of Alfred Hitchcock owes it to himself or herself to check out the British films that he made prior to 1940. YOUNG AND INNOCENT is one of the best representatives from that body of work.