Friday, January 27, 2017
Young and Innocent (Alfred Hitchcock, 1937)
North by Northwest (1959), but there with more integration into the plot; here the sinking car seems to be only a gimmick introduced to allow Hitchcock to play with suspense-building techniques. There's also a long tracking crane shot that gradually focuses in on the villain (George Curzon) with a give-away tic that anticipates the tracking shot in Notorious (1946) that ends up on the key in Ingrid Bergman's hand. Hitchcock also uses Young and Innocent to exploit his well-known fear of the police, this time by mocking them, as when two cops are forced to hitch a ride with a farmer hauling livestock in his cart: When they complain about how crowded the cart is, the farmer tells them it was only built for ten pigs. Otherwise, Young and Innocent is agreeably nonchalant about plot essentials: Why was Tisdall mentioned in the murdered woman's will? Why did everyone assume that when he ran for help after discovering her body he was actually fleeing the scene of the crime? Why does he flee from the courtroom instead of sticking around to plead his case? Why does Erica so swiftly believe in his innocence? The film is nonsense, but it's enjoyable nonsense if you turn off such questions and go along for the ride. The screenplay, loosely based on a novel by Josephine Tey, is credited to Charles Bennett, Edwin Greenwood, and Anthony Armstrong, but I suspect it was much reworked by Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville, who is credited with "continuity," to allow for the director's experiments in suspense.