Once again I wasn’t paying attention when I was entering the movie titles into my spreadsheet and put another movie out of order. Oh well, I am actually glad I got to watch this movie today as it feels a little appropriate to end the weekend like this. Today’s movie is the last movie in the Legends of Horror box set and, much like how I started off with this set, I find myself watching a Hitchcock movie to finish off the set. This is yet another movie that I have never heard of before buying this collection and I really haven’t been disappointed with these rare gems so let’s see if the trend finishes up the same as I watch today’s movie, Young And Innocent.
The plot: On a stormy night, Christine Clay finds herself in an argument with her jealous ex-husband Guy, who doesn’t accept her Reno divorce as valid. Accusing her of having an affair, they continue arguing until Christine slaps Guy and demands he leave. As he walks out into the rain, Guy turns to look back at the door as his eyes begin twitching uncontrollably. The next day, Christine’s body washes ashore onto the beach, where she is spotted by Robert Tisdall as he is out for a walk. Going to check on the body, he recognizes her as Christine and then runs to get help, but two women heading to the beach spot him and the body and they believe he is running from the crime. When the authorities arrive and determine she was strangled with the belt from a rain coat, the women accuse Robert of killing her but he proclaims his innocence, only to find that nobody seems ready to believe him. Robert is taken to Scotland Yard for questioning all night and when the police ask him if he has a raincoat, he says it was stolen out of his car. Robert admits that he did know Christine, as he sold her a story 3 years ago, but the police believe he was having an affair with her and when they inform him that she left him £1200, he ends up fainting. Erica Burgoyne, the daughter of the local police’s Chief Constable, happens to be outside and is able to help revive him, then they take Robert to see his barrister before going to court. Robert tries to tell his barrister that the police are making a mistake and that if the police go to check the pub he was at the night his coat was stolen, they will verify what he told them but he realizes pretty quickly that his barrister is somewhat incompetent. Unsure on if he will get a fair trial against the circumstantial evidence against him, Robert takes advantage of the crowded courthouse to slip away from his guards and as they clear the courthouse to search for him, he is able to get outside by wearing his barrister’s glasses as a disguise. As the police start leaving the courthouse to look for him, Erica ends up having two officers ride with her, commandeering her car to help search. When the car runs out of gas, they start pushing it to the nearest station but Erica tells them to keep going and so the two officers hitch a ride with a passing farmer. As Erica works on continuing to push the car, she is surprised to find Robert helping her, as he had stowed away on the side running board, and she begrudgingly thanks him for the help. Reaching a fuel station, Robert ends up paying for Erica’s gas and they continue on the way for a little while before Erica pulls over and drops Robert off at an abandoned farm house, not wanting him to stay in her car any longer and as he watches her drive off, he sees her stop and speak with some policemen but when they drive by without stopping, she realizes that she didn’t tell them where he was. Erica returns home and is having lunch with her father and brothers and during the course of the meal, she learns that Robert had used all the money he had on him to pay for her gas. Feeling a little guilty, but also believing his claims of innocence, she heads back to the farm house with some food for him As the two talk, Robert starts eating the food Erica brought him but when he tosses the wrapper out the window, the policemen who were with Erica earlier spot it and go to investigate. As they approach, Erica’s dog starts barking at them, alerting Erica and Robert to their approach and they are able to slip out the window and get away. Erica is upset about the fact that she was forced to run from the cops like that and considers heading back to town but when she sees the road blocked, she resigns herself to going to the pub, saying she might as well see this through. When they reach the pub, Erica goes in and asks the bartender if someone had lost a coat and the bartender mentions a tramp named Old Will had come in with a new coat but quickly shuts up when some other tramps motion him to be quiet. Another customer says that he did recall Old Will coming in with a new coat that someone had given him and the tramps start a fight to keep him quiet. Hearing the commotion, Robert goes to check on Erica but when she says she is safely outside, he heads out as well but ends up getting hurt. Erica tends to his wound and the customer tells them where they can find Old Will and Robert chooses to walk there, not wanting to put Erica in any more trouble than she might already be in. However, Erica finds herself starting to fall for Robert and she decides to take him there but stops at her aunt’s house for a little bit to ask for some money. Having Robert wait in the car, Erica goes inside only to get trapped in her aunt’s party. Outside, Robert is writing her a note to explain his leaving and thanking her for her help when her uncle shows up and invites him in. The two try to make their excuses and leave but Erica’s aunt grows suspicious and keeps them around so she can question Robert. When Erica’s uncle helps them leave, her aunt chastises him and grows even more suspicious when they head in the opposite direction of Erica’s home and she calls the Chief Constable. After hearing about Erica and Robert, the Chief Constable calls the local station house in the direction they are heading and asks them to stop her and have her call him but when the officer stops her to relay the message, he recognizes Robert and Erica drives off. Panicking over what she did and what it will do to her father if she is arrested for aiding a fugitive, Erica says they have to find that coat and they head off to find Old Will. Arriving at the train station next to the shelter he is supposed to be staying at. Robert tells Erica this will all be over soon and she will never see him again and she grows sad and asks if that is true. Robert comforts her until she falls asleep, then heads to the shelter to look for Will but ends up falling asleep inside. He eventually finds Will and questions him about the raincoat but Will feigns ignorance. When Robert exclaims that it is a matter of life or death for him, one of the tramps realizes Robert is the escaped criminal and goes to tell the manager to call the police. Robert drags Will out of there and into Erica’s car and they rush off, managing to avoid the police by racing in front of a passing train. Robert discovers that Will is wearing his raincoat underneath his overcoat and when he examines it, realizes that the belt is missing and that it was his belt that killed Christine. When he asks about the belt, Will tells them that it didn’t have a belt when the man gave it to him and describes the man as having twitchy eyes. Robert thinks this will clear him but Erica says it won’t be enough unless they find the actual killer. Realizing the police will be after them soon, Will says there is an old mine they can hide in and they head there only to have Erica’s car fall into a hole when the ground collapses. Robert and Will manage to rescue her before her car falls deeper into the hole as the police arrive, and Erica moves to stall them so that Robert can get free. Later, Erica’s father speaks with her about the situation she is in and shows her his letter of resignation, as he refuses to arrest her. That night, Robert sneaks into Erica’s room to see her and she rushes to hug him. Robert tells her that he is going to turn himself in, and just wanted to see her first. She tells him that the police found his coat and the only thing in it was a box of matches from the Grand Hotel. Robert goes to leave but then goes back to her and says he has never been to the Grand Hotel and they realize the killer must have been there or still is. The next day, Erica meets with Will, who is there to see if he spots the man that gave him the coat, but Will is being watched by the police. As they look around the hotel, they head inside the ballroom as the police enter, having spotted Will with Erica and believing they could lead them to Robert. As they sit in the ballroom and look around, the drummer of the house band notices Will and his eyes start twitching. The drummer is actually Guy in black-face and when he sees the police are there as well, he starts acting suspiciously, causing the band leader to chastise him. Guy considers leaving but when he sees more police showing up, he heads back inside and goes to take some medicine to try and get his twitching under control. Erica’s father shows up with Scotland Yard and they catch Robert and go to get Erica as Guy’s increasingly erratic behavior causes him to pass out. The police are about to lead Erica, Robert, and Will away when they hear the commotion and Erica goes to offer her help. When she notices Guy’s eyes twitching, she calls for Will to come over, then asks someone to wipe off the black-face. When his face is clear, Will confirms that it is the man that gave him the coat and as Guy comes around, Erica asks him what he did with the belt. Guy starts laughing and says he twisted it around her neck, admitting that he killed Christine. As the authorities move to arrest Guy, Robert is released and he goes to embrace Erica, who then goes to her father and asks about inviting Robert over for dinner.
For an early Hitchcock movie, this is not as good as his later works but it is a good movie on it’s own and does show some flashes of his brilliance. The acting was good, with Derrick De Marney and Nova Pilbeam doing good jobs as Robert and Erica, as they had some great chemistry on screen and the banter between them was fantastic. I also liked Edward Rigby (Old Will) as he provided a good bit of comedic humor towards the end of the movie. The story was pretty basic, with the framed man trying to prove his innocence while avoiding being caught by the authorities. Still, Hitchcock was able to add some romance and humor to a serious plot, either intentionally or unintentionally. The scene with the policemen getting a ride from the farmer had me cracking up. I don’t know if the “pig” nickname for police had come about at this point or not but when they were talking to the farmer and he told them he was paid to move pigs around, plus when they asked if he had more room for them and he said he only had the room for 10 pigs, had me almost laughing at loud. While the chase sequences were pretty good for the time, the film quality was honestly kind of bad, particularly towards the end of the film, but it could have just been the source used for this DVD and not the original film itself. A fun movie to watch and definitely worth watching if you are a fan of Hitchcock.
Rating: 3 out of 5