The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

PG   |    |  Drama, Thriller


The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) Poster

A tale of innocent American tourists in Morocco whose son's kidnapping sets off a twisting plot of international intrigue.


7.4/10
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18 December 2002 | sibisi73
Perfect.
All the trademark Hitchcock elements are in place yet again, for a wonderful example of crowd-pleasing from the man who knew better than anyone just how to work an audience. James Stewart, everyone's perfect everyman returns to familiar ground, with the perfect wife (Doris Day, perfect casting), and perfect family. Into this chocolate box world is thrown some dangerous information, and a downward spiral of kidnap and murder.

As usual, there are the elaborately staged set-pieces, and the intimate psychoanalysis that you would expect. Here, the assassination sequence in the Royal Albert Hall provides the former - a beautifully choreographed blend of music and images building to the pivotal crash of cymbals, and the scenes in Morocco the latter, as our couple become obliviously embroiled in international espionage. It is hard to find fault with any of Hitchcock's contrivances (using the Oscar-winning 'Whatever Will Be' as a plot device to get Doris singing is almost too much, but forgivable), and the the whole cast are superb, giving incredibly naturalistic performances - see the scene in the Moroccan restaurant, which almost seems ad-libbed.

One of Hitchcock's best.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Doris Day was so popular with the British that when she arrived at her London hotel for location shooting, mobs of fans had gotten word that she would be staying there and had gathered. Pandemonium erupted when they saw her, and she needed a police escort to get in. Fans continued to surround the hotel, camping out, shouting her name, asking for autographs, and hoping for a chance to see her. The hotel management finally had to ask her to leave.


Quotes

Ambassador: You have muddled everything from the start, taking that child with you from Marrakesh. Don't you realize that Americans dislike having their children stolen?


Goofs

At Ambrose Chapel, when the two men and the woman are discussing the music arrangements with the shot to be fired, the cigarette she is smoking is much smaller than the one that she extinguishes before she and the men go to leave the room.


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 1980s, Universal reissued 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 '80s 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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