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Alfred Hitchcock: The Shape of Suspense

Friday, January 18, 2013
7:00 p.m. Young and Innocent
Alfred Hitchcock (U.K., 1937)

An underappreciated charmer from Hitchcock’s British period. Nova Pilbeam, child of The Man Who Knew Too Much, here plays a constable’s daughter who falls in with a hapless writer (Derrick de Marney) falsely accused of murdering a movie star. Their search for the real killer crisscrosses the class categories of the ever-so-English countryside as Hitchcock assembles an array of cleverly drawn types, from roadhouse tramps and canny peasants to the haughty auntie who presides over an excruciating children’s party. A startling mine-shaft rescue looks ahead to North by Northwest, and there’s foreshadowing of Notorious in a dazzling crane shot that sweeps down from the ceiling of a ballroom into the twitching eyes of a murderer. Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer called it “the most beautiful forward track to be found in the history of film.”

—Juliet Clark

• Written by Charles Bennett, Edwin Greenwood, Anthony Armstrong, based on the novel A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey. Photographed by Bernard Knowles. With Nova Pilbeam, Derrick de Marney, Percy Marmont, Edward Rigby. (82 mins, B&W, 35mm, From Park Circus)