A French intelligence agent becomes embroiled in the Cold War politics first with uncovering the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missle Crisis, and then back to France to break up an international Russian spy ring.
Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920's London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her. Frank takes ... See full summary »
A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns.
A film actress is murdered by her estranged husband who is jealous of all her young boyfriends. The next day, writer Robert Tisdall (who happens to be one such boyfriend) discovers her body on the beach. He runs to call the police, however, two witnesses think that he is the escaping murderer. Robert is arrested, but owing to a mix up at the courthouse, he escapes and goes on the run with a police constable's daughter Erica, determined to prove his innocence. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The argument is always going to pursue Hitchcock's students and fans. Were the films he made in England from 1934 to 1939 his best films (specifically THE 39 STEPS and THE LADY VANISHES) or were the films he made in Hollywood from STRANGERS ON A TRAIN through THE BIRDS his masterworks. I think most Americans favor the latter group, and Englishmen favor the former. Certainly he had huge budgets to play with in the 1940s to 1970s, whereas his budgets in England were terribly puny. But his basic themes got developed in his English films, and he managed to achieve some great effects on those puny budgets.
YOUNG AND INNOCENT is probably frequently confused with RICH AND STRANGE, a really weird film Hitch made about four years earlier. That was about how a marriage survives an inheritance and trip around the world. This one deals with a mystery by Josephine Tey. In the 1930s to 1960s Ms Tey was the equal as a British mystery novelist of Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, and Dorothy Sayers. This is based on A SHILLING FOR CANDLES, but most people who remember Ms Tey recall her for two novels based on historical mysteries. One, reset in modern times, is THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR (based on the 1753 mystery of the disappearance and reappearance of Elizabeth Canning in London - a case that literally split English society as equal numbers of witnesses placed her either in a farmhouse as a prisoner, while others insisted she was living with a lover). The second (and better recalled) is THE DAUGHTER OF TIME, which tackles the question of the guilt of King Richard III in the various crimes ascribed to him by Sir Thomas More and William Shakespeare - including the murder of his two nephews. Tey's usual hero, Inspector Adam Grant, concludes history lies (the victors determine what is "true") and Richard is innocent. Although it's research value is dated in 2005, it is still a good place to start looking over Richard's reputation and case.
Here the hero (Derrick De Marney) is suspected (rather flimsily, actually) of having killed a young woman on a beach. He after all helped discover the body. From the beginning we are aware of another person who is more likely to be the killer, but after a sinister opening we don't see him again.
De Marney flees, and his path leads him into that of Nova Pilbeam. She was an up and coming performer of that period in England, appearing as the kidnap victim in the original THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH in 1934, and then as the ill-fated Lady Jane Gray in TUDOR ROSE in 1936. Here she is the daughter of the local police head (Percy Marmont - he had been an accidental murder victim of Peter Lorre's in 1936's THE SECRET AGENT). She is convinced of De Marney's innocence, and keeps helping him flee (including a comic interlude at the home of her uncle, Basil Radford, during a birthday party. They keep looking up potentially innocent-proving evidence, and find one more ally: Edward Rigby as a helplessly entangled hobo named Will.
And they do find the killer (as does Marmont and his police) in the conclusion, when they track him down to the drummer man - in the first really memorable use of a tracking shot by Hitch. He would next use it again in NOTORIOUS in the party scene. The man is in black face (a racist element that was acceptable in 1937 unfortunately), but we know the key to his identity - his twitching eyes (possibly nervousness, but also possibly by drugs). His eyes do twitch for the audience before they do for the others. And his nerves suffer the torments of the damned when he sees the police in the room and De Marney. Then he goes into a really wild drumming turn (which his boss acidly comments on afterward) - it is like a wild animal at bay, symbolically.
It is not THE LADY VANISHES or THE 39 STEPS, but it an effective film for all that. Definitely worth watching.
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