“If it’s any consolation to you, I want you to know that I’m innocent.”
When a young writer (Derrick De Marney) is falsely accused of murder, the local constable’s daughter (Nova Pilbeam) helps him track down the true culprit.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Amateur Sleuths
- Falsely Accused
- Hitchcock Films
- Murder Mystery
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that if this “very entertaining, sadly overlooked Alfred Hitchcock thriller” doesn’t “reach the heights of The 39 Steps — which it “greatly resembles” — that’s “because the earlier film (also co-written by Charles Bennett) has more mature characters…, more glamorous stars…, and a couple-on-the-run story in which more is at stake than just our hero proving his innocence.” He adds that “Pilbeam (the teenage kidnap victim in Hitchcock’s 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much)” is “a brave and resourceful young woman” who “voluntarily (unlike Carroll) helps the hero [De Marney] elude the police and track down the real killer” — which means she “must go against her father (Percy Marmont) for the first time.”
Peary argues that while “surely the film would have been a bit more exciting if De Marney and Pilbeam (a likable screen couple) were ever in more serious danger than just being arrested,” “their search for the murderer is most entertaining.” Indeed, De Marney and Pilbeam — relatively unknown actors — are hugely appealing in the lead roles:
It’s difficult not to root for them as they doggedly track down the evidence they need while simultaneously falling in love. As indicated in the alternate title (The Girl Was Young), the film goes beyond Hitchcock’s standard tropes of false accusations and amateur sleuthing to focus on Pilbeam’s transformation from an independent yet sheltered girl to someone who brazenly follows her heart rather than her head.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Nora Pilbeam as the (initially) unwilling accomplice
- Handsome Derrick De Marney as the falsely accused yet ever-hopeful young suspect
- J.H. Roberts as the “veddy British” solicitor assigned to De Marney’s case
- Creative settings, such as the birthday party where Pilbeam’s aunt begins to suspect something is wrong
- Atmospheric cinematography
No, but it’s recommended, and must-see viewing for Hitchcock fans.