Friday, May 11, 2012

Random Hitchcock: Young And Innocent (1937)

Hitchcock's last British murder mystery film, Young And Innocent was also known as The Girl Was Young.  I know that we are doing this grab bag thing, hence the "random Hitchcock" title, but sometimes grab bags have strange continuity, in this case it is with Rope mode of murder.  Both films have the exact same method of death:  strangulation.  In Rope it's obviously a rope; here the murder weapon is the belt from a stolen rain coat, which sets up the plot nicely.  The young man accused of the murder of a famous film starlet, Robert Tisdall (Derrick de Marney who is seriously cheating in her increasingly crazed husband, because 1)  it's his rain coat that has been stolen, and 2)  he discovers her body in the surf and is seen running from the beach--to get help, but the police believe otherwise.  He manages to escape custody with the ample help of a young woman (Nova Pilbeam) who happens to be the daughter of the chief constable. The fugitive plot has a lot in common with Hitch's 39 Steps It was Pilbeam's performance in this film that lead American studio boss and producer David O. Shelznick to request her for the lead in Hitchcock's first American film Rebecca in 1940, Hitchcock objected due to what he called her immaturity for the part and it eventually went to Joan Fontaine.

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