An actress is murdered by her estranged husband, who is jealous of all of 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 title is appropriate to the point of being redundant, because in nearly every Alfred Hitchcock film the key theme is an innocent man accused. In this case, accused of murder, and the young man is a charming English actor, Derrick De Marney. As the police begin their hunt, he runs into the police chief's daughter, played by Nova Pilbeam, a tomboyish answer to Katherine Hepburn, and the real star of the movie.
This is a late British Hitchcock film, and it feels slightly raw around the edges, but it's so fast and likable and well constructed, you have to love it. In fact, the suspense of getting caught is balanced by some downright slapstick scenes that are brief and hilarious. And a reminder that this is a romp, the whole thing a beautiful, spritely entertainment. Never mind a killer is on the loose, because if one man is innocent of murder, another, out there somewhere, it not.
This is 1937, and by 1939 Hitchcock has moved to the U.S. to do Hollywood movies (including the amazing Rebecca in 1940), and so Young and Innocent and The Lady Vanishes (which has a similar quaint feel) wrap up his long British period. It says a lot for a movie to say I could watch it again, not because it's technically astonishing, but because it's just a joy, and very sweet. Never mind a little corniness or an inevitable ending, it's good!
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