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Aberdeen Journal (31/May/1938) - Young and Innocent




Alfred Hitchcock, with each film he directs, bids us claim that if he is not the greatest film director of our day he is at least among the first three. "Young and Innocent," in which he can be recognised playing an "extra" in one of the crowd scenes, is as exciting and lively as "The Man Who Knew Too Much." and even more technically clever than "Sabotage."

A young man is detained for murder, and he escapes to collect his own proof of his innocence. In his flight he is assisted by the chief constable's daughter, a dog, a very old motor car, and at least a dozen of Hitchcock's ingenious tricks.

The film opens with breathless excitement, -and there are thrills all the way until the last five minutes, which are spent on a rather weak conclusion and solution.

Human Hitchcock touches which stick after the run of the film are a woman's scream on a lonely beach, merging into the shrieks of wheeling gulls; a broken cup puncturing a Rolls-Royce car; a small boy's plea to be excused at a children's party; a hand reaching for help in a landslide in a mine.

For these you will in all probability want to see the film a second time, and you will certainly be greatly tempted to go back and watch again the really excellent performances by Nova Pilbeam and Derrick de Marney. as the young heroine and innocent hero, not forgetting the two gems of character studies by J.H. Roberts, as a nit-witted solicitor, and by Mary Clare as a "dragon" aunt.

The hero and heroine deny us one piece of "business" which we had come to regard as an essential convention to every film. See if you can spot it. There should be a competition. Hitchcock would dare to deny the flappers their expected dues.