Among Alfred Hitchcock's pre-Hollywood movies, 1938's Young and Innocent
is a most unfairly overlooked classic. It's full of themes and stylistic touches that became permanent fixtures in his career. Based on Josephine Tey's novel A Shilling for Candles
, the film title refers to the characters' outlook. However Hitchcock characteristically chips away at that innocence with flourishes of macabre humour, such as scenes of a dead rat at the lunch table and a hopeless conference with a defence lawyer, while suspense is heightened in a game of blindman's buff at a children 's party. The story concerns a typically Hitchcockian innocent man (Derrick de Marney) on the run, with a trivial object to find (a raincoat) that will prove his innocence. He's helped by a fiery young girl (Nova Pilbeam) who's unfortunately the daughter of the chief constable, but has some handy first aid skills. There's also an oppressive mother figure in the shape of an overbearing aunt (Mary Clare). Aside from these thematic traits, what remains impressive for viewers new or old is Hitchcock's technical set-pieces: a car sinks into a mineshaft, a railway station is recreated in miniature, and the twitchy-eyed murderer is finally located via an extended aerial tracking shot across a ballroom (pre-empting many similar shots, eg: Notorious
). This sequence took two days to accomplish, and demonstrates the director was more than ready to move to the older and less innocent American industry . --Paul Tonks
Hitchcock-directed comedy thriller. When a young woman is found strangled on the seashore, Robert Tisdall (Derrick De Marney) is quickly identified as the chief suspect in the case. The young man protests his innocence, but it seems that only Erica Burgoyne (Nova Pilbeam), the eighteen-year-old daughter of the local police constable, is prepared to believe him. Together, the unlikely duo set out to find the real killer. An early blueprint for such Hitchcock classics as 'To Catch a Thief' and 'North by Northwest'.