The other day I watched Young And Innocent, which is not, as its title suggests, something I found scouring the scuzzier recesses of YouTube, but rather an excellent Hitchcock film from 1937. It was also known in the USA as The Girl Was Young, which is a technically correct but nonsense title only likely to get you into more trouble asking for it at the library.
Hitch’s early British films are criminally overlooked in your bog-standard pub debate about the best of The Master’s work (Alfred Hitchcock I mean, not the evil renegade Time Lord), so here I am to bring you enlightenment with my unsolicited, unwanted and largely uninformed opinions.
Young And Innocent was the fifth in a run of six tremendous films from Hitchcock in the 1930s. It’s not the best – that would be a scrap between The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes – but second rate Hitchcock films are still oodles better than most films being made at that time, or indeed since. It’s the story of a man wrongly accused of murder and on the run from the police with an icy blonde for company, as 97% of Hitch’s films were, although this one is but a child’s crayon doodling compared to the da Vinci-like majesty of North By Northwest.
Anyway I’m not going to bang on about it all day, you’ve got work to do, meetings to attend, lunch to eat and so on, but I am going to share with you a short clip that’s not just the greatest shot in Young And Innocent but one of the greatest shots in Hitchcock’s work ever, which automatically qualifies it as one of the greatest things in the world full stop, like weekends, wine or white chocolate (Green & Black’s, not that Milky Bar rubbish).
I was going to set the scene but somebody else better qualified does it for me in this sniplet from Paul Merton’s reasonable (but entry-level) Hitchcock documentary “Paul Merton Looks At Alfred Hitchcock”. And don’t panic, you only have to watch the first two minutes. Goodness me, if you’re that busy why are you surfing the interwebs at all? Back to work!