The Man Who Knew Too Much

"Excellent"

The Man Who Knew Too Much Review


If Hitchcock ever got the chance to make a Bond film, it would have probably turned out something like this (or Topaz). A road trip with James Stewart and Doris Day traipsing from Morocco to London, it's two hours of red herrings and intense scenes, one of the least apologetic adventures he ever made.

The story is a spy tale wherein -- as usual for Hitch -- the bad guys finger the wrong man and end up abducting Stewart and Day's son when Jimmy is tipped off to an impending murder. As the double agent dies in his arms, he whispers the plan into Stewart's ear, and the chase is on. From a taxidermist's place to Albert Hall, The Man Who Knew Too Much never lets up until its climactic finale.

One of Hitch's most musical film, songs are integral to the movie from the first frame. The crash of the cymbals will be used to mask an assassin's gunshot. And Day's "Whatever Will Be" (aka "Que Sera, Sera") is used in both the light moments of the movie and as a teary beacon for her kidnapped son to locate her by. A lover of music, Hitch also imbued the film with more personal touches than many of his other productions. His hatred of the police is obvious throughout, as powerless officers shrug off the kidnapping of the boy. The domestic troubles (shocking for a film shot in the 1950s) between Stewart and Day -- and their weary world travelling -- also mimic Hitchcock's own life.

Unfortunately, the film lacks in originality what it has in gumption. The climax is clearly drawn from the true story of the assassination of Lincoln (and John Wilkes Booth leaping to the stage). And the whole film is one of the very rare cases of a director remaking his own work -- Peter Lorre was far more memorable a villain in the 1934 production of the same name. Worst of all, though shot on location in Marrakech, the film uses an awful rear-projection technique that makes the whole thing look phony. Yuck.

The new DVD release features a fairly good transfer and sound, plus a mildly enlightening making-of documentary.

Hitch on the set.



The Man Who Knew Too Much

Facts and Figures

Run time: 120 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st June 1956

Budget: $1.2M

Distributed by: MCA Universal Home Video

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Fresh: 29 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Dr. Ben McKenna, as Jo McKenna, as Lucy Drayton, as Edward Drayton, Alan Mowbray as Val Parnell, as Jan Peterson, Christopher Olsen as Hank McKenna, Daniel Gélin as Louis Bernard, Reggie Nalder as Assassin at Albert Hall, Bernard Herrmann as Conductor at Albert Hall, as Cindy Fontaine, Alix Talton as Helen Parnell, as Assistant Manager, as Buchanan, as Ambassador, Bess Flowers as Woman in Albert Hall lobby

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.