Saturday, October 13, 2007

Young and Innocent

This film from 1937, aka The Girl Was Young, is one of my favorites by Hitchcock. Along with The 39 Steps, its 'wrong man' theme seems to be the template for every chase film since.

Based loosely on Josephine Tey's novel, A Shilling For Candles, the story is about a young writer (de Marney), falsely accused of murder who sets out after the real killer to prove his innocence, assisted by the unwilling daughter, (Pilbeam), of the chief constable . Much of of the film's pleasure lies in the adolescent romance; the suspense of the chase is paralleled with the couples anxiety about their developing relationship.

And in a celebrated slow, descending tracking shot that frames the killer's eyes we peer into one of film's creepiest killers ever. But before that famous ballroom scene the film is laced with poetic, funny, and terrifying scenes. A light hearted scene has Pilbeam attempting to time the flow of a water fountain spray on de Marney's head wound.

Now a word about Nova Pilbeam: Appealing. Why this Hitchcock Leading Lady never caught on with the director is beyond me. She reminds me of Emma Watson. I find her just as warm and inspiring as Grace, Ingrid, Doris, and the rest.

Maybe more - I love her!


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