This film (also sometimes entitled THE GIRL WAS YOUNG) must have been made when Hitchcock himself was young and innocent. I say that only half in jest. His British films of the 1930s were so much more authentic and interesting than much of his later Hollywood work such as REAR WINDOW (1954, see my review) and the second version of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956, see my review), both of which were really terrible travesties and simply appallingly bad. Of course, when Hitchcock was on form in Hollywood, he could certainly make masterpieces such as VERTIGO (1958) and NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959, to be reviewed). But Hitchcock's early films other than the disappointing NUMBER SEVENTEEN (1932, see my review) can be especially exciting and worthwhile for viewers who do not mind black and white and are not disoriented by period films. (I know some people who only watch colour and never anything old.) Or perhaps another way to put it is to say that of the 69 films directed by Hitchcock, some were excellent and others were duds, at all periods. Maybe we expect too much of him, wishing him always to be in top form. This film stars the wonderful young actress Nova Pilbeam, who had appeared in Hitchcock's first version of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1934, see my review). She retired from films in 1951, which is such a shame, considering that she lived to be 95. Here she truly shines, and has such wonderful and subtle scenes with her leading man, Derrick de Marney, who is so charming and witty and has such excellent chemistry with Pilbeam. The superb character actor Edward Rigby does an excellent job of playing the tramp Old Will in this film. He also appeared with Pilbeam in GREEN FINGERS (1947) and THE THREE WEIRD SISTERS (1948) In the latter, scary Mary Clare, who here plays Pilbeam's aunt, also appeared. The story concerns the body of a woman being washed up on a British beach, apparently in Cornwall. But it turns out that she was strangled before entering the water, and did not drown. In fact, she was strangled with the belt of a cloth raincoat, a belt (but not the coat) which is found washed up beside her. So whodunit? At the beginning of the film we see the woman, Christine, having a quarrel with her husband, who has a terrible nervous tick which leads him to blink both of his eyes continuously. Later in the film, in a search for the murderer, the only way to identify him is because of his nervous facial twitching. This is similar to the situation in THE 39 STEPS (1935), where the villain can only be identified by the fact that he is missing half of one finger. In fact, the two films are often compared generally as well. Hitchcock was evidently trilled at the mystery of the desperate pursuit small clues, and they certainly add to the dramatic tension. There are many Hitchcockian touches throughout this film, not least that the tension is often relieved by humour, but also with such standard Hitchcock scenes as being trapped by the police in a public event (here a dance at the Grand Hotel) and having everyone stare at you accusingly (here at the beach when everyone stares menacingly at de Marney when they think he is the murderer). Another favourite Hitchcock theme explored here is the race against time of a man to prove he is innocent. Also, Derrick de Marney at first is threatened with being reported to the police by Nova Pilbeam, just as Robert Donat was by Madeleine Caroll in THE 39 STEPS. But in both cases, the accused man's innocence becomes clear to the women, and they end up helping him. This film has charm, vivacity, and tension aplenty.