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

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

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.