1937                        Murder mystery

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    • Derrick de Marney Robert Tisdall
    • Nova Pilbeam Erica
    • Percy Marmont Colonel Burgoyne
    • Edward Rigby Old Will
    • Mary Clare Erica's aunt
    • John Longden Kent
    • George Curzon Guy
    • Basil Radford Uncle Basil


  • Dir:
  • Scr:
      Charles Bennett, Alma Reville, from the novel S Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey

__________________________________________________________________ stars


    [ y o u n g   a n d   i n n o c e n t : m o v i e  r e v i e w ]

    vhs dvd

    Classification: u

    Buy: DVD (shipped from UK)

      Based on Josephine Tey's novel A Shilling for Candles, this may be a minor entry in the Hitchcock canon. But, as it boasts one of the most stunning sequences he ever executed: the audacious travelling shot to the murderer's twitching eye this film still proves him to be the master of technique, as well as suspense.

      One of Hitch's many “wrong man” thrillers, it takes viewers on a breathless pursuit, pausing only for a nerve-jangling children's party and a mine-shaft cliffhanger, that will leave you as frayed and exhausted as the imperilled Derrick de Marney and Nova Pilbeam.

      Sit back and nail-bite.


      Pilbeam played Betty, the kidnapped daughter in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934). This would be the last time that Hitchcock worked with her, although he had actively considered using her in a project that never materialised. She was also in the running at a very early stage for Joan Fontaine's part in Rebecca (1940).

      In many ways, this is a curious film, a kind of The 39 Steps for children. I can't help but thinking that the stars Pilbeam and de Marney as the teenage relations of Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll (even though the absurdly young looking de Marney was only a year younger than Donat in real life).

      The film has none of the sinister enemies within feel that pervades the aforementioned film. It is straightforward and boasts just a few glimpses of the master's trickery. Sandwiched between 39 Steps, Sabotage and The Lady Vanishes, it's a though Hitch decided with this film to pursue the same themes but in a lighter mood.

      Some of the shots which move from close-up to further away don't quite match - the editing seems a bit suspect.

      Also, if Robert has never visited Erica's home before then how the hell would he know in the dead of night which bedroom window was her's? And the ending where the confession is made is just too contrived and too convenient.

      But these are minor quibbles and if you take the film on face value as good old entertainment and don't make the mistake I made of arriving at it directly after revisiting 39 Steps then you will enjoy it.

    There he is:

      Outside the courthouse holding a camera during Robert's escape. The one facial expression Hitch has to make is delivered in an over-the-top (dare I say, hammy?) way which proves that as an actor Hitch was a great director!

    Buy: DVD (shipped from UK: £4.99 - 2009)

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