The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

PG   |    |  Drama, Thriller


The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) Poster

An American physician and his wife take matters into their own hands after assassins planning to execute a foreign Prime Minister kidnap their son.


7.5/10
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  • "Man Who Knew Too Much, The" Director Alfred Hitchcock. 1956 / Paramount
  • Doris Day and James Stewart in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
  • Doris Day in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
  • "Man Who Knew Too Much, The" Doris Day on Location. 1956.
  • "Man Who Knew Too Much, The" James Stewart with Director Alfred Hitchcock. 1956/Paramount
  • Doris Day and James Stewart in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

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Reviews & Commentary

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23 July 2001 | Snow Leopard
Star Power Carries the Remake
Both versions of Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much" have their strong points, and are well worth watching. This 1950's remake is carried mostly by its star power, with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day being convincing and very sympathetic as the parents of the kidnapped child. It also has more lavish settings and better (not just because it is color) photography than the earlier version. On the other hand, it lacks the wittiness of the British version, and moves more slowly.

The remake spends much more time setting up the story than the original did, with the family spending a lot of time on their vacation in Morocco before the crisis occurs. It makes possible some colorful scenery and settings, and allows you to get to know the family a bit more, although the quicker pace in the original established more tension and kept your attention throughout. The Albert Hall sequence works well in both films, with this one having the added bonus of allowing the audience to see Bernard Herrmann, who wrote so many great scores for Hitchcock's films, conducting the orchestra.

Despite having essentially the same story, the two versions of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" have a much different feel. Which one you prefer is largely a matter of taste - while neither is usually considered among Hitchcock's very best, they are both good movies with a lot of strong points. Take a look at both if you have the chance.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

DIRECTOR CAMEO (Sir Alfred Hitchcock): In the Moroccan marketplace in a crowd watching the elevated acrobats with his back to the camera, on the extreme left, immediately before the murder. Be alert and look quickly (and if possible, have "pause" and "rewind" controls available), as this cameo is very easy to miss, even after repeated viewings, because the viewer's eye is naturally drawn to the acrobats.


Quotes

Edward Drayton: Remember, you will only have time for just one shot. If you need another, the risk is yours.
Rien: I don't take risks.


Goofs

When the McKennas are riding to their hotel in the horse-drawn wagon after getting off the bus, the shadows are mismatched between the foreground and the back-projected scene. In the foreground, the shadows are on the left of the characters, as if the sun is on the right of the frame; in the back-projection, the shadows are on the right of the cars, as if the sun is on the left of the frame.


Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: A single crash of Cymbals and how it rocked the lives of an American family.


Alternate Versions

The original film opened with the Paramount logo followed by their patented wide screen process, Vista Vision. In the 80's, Universal re-issued the film with their logo, and dropped the reference to Vista Vision. The Blu-Ray edition retains the Paramount/Vista Vision logos at the start, but carries the 80's Universal logo at the end.


Soundtracks

Storm Cloud Cantata
(1934)
by
Arthur Benjamin and D.B. Wyndham-Lewis
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Bernard Herrmann
Orchestrated by Bernard Herrmann (uncredited)
Covent Garden Chorus and Barbara Howitt, soloist

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Drama | Thriller

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