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Plot: While attending a medical conference in Paris, American physician Dr. Ben McKenna, his wife, retired musical theater actress and singer Jo McKenna née Conway, and their adolescent son Hank McKenna decide to take a side trip to among other places Marrekesh, French Morocco. With a knife plunged into his back, Frenchman Louis Bernard, who the family met earlier in their bus ride into Marrakesh and who is now masquerading as an Arab, approaches Ben, cryptically whispering into Ben's ears that there will be an attempted assassination in London of a statesman, this news whispered just before Bernard dies. Ben is reluctant to provide any information of this news to the authorities because concurrently Hank is kidnapped by British couple, Edward and Lucy Drayton, who also befriended the McKennas in Marrakesh and who probably have taken Hank out of the country back to England. Whoever the unknown people the Draytons are working for have threatened to kill Hank if Ben divulges any information told to him by Bernard. With what little information they have on hand, Ben and Jo head to London to try and thwart the assassination attempt and more importantly find an alive and safe Hank. Scotland Yard is aware of some pieces to the puzzle, including the fact that Bernard was a French secret service agent and that there will be an assassination attempt on someone. They and the McKennas will have to work together as they hit a diplomatic roadblock, one that may be overcome with a special Jo Conway song. Runtime: 120 mins Release Date: 31 May 1956
the famous twelve-minute sequence at the Albert Hall alone is enough to demand an audience for this richly entertaining thriller (by TheUnknown837-1)
In 1956, Alfred Hitchcock owed a film to Paramount Studios and was given the task of remaking not just any film, but one of his own. That film was his 1934 movie "The Man Who Knew Too Much" which starred Leslie Banks and Edna Best as vacationing parents who unwillingly become involved in an international espionage involving an assassination plot. In order to keep their mouths shut, foreign spies kidnap their daughter and hold her hostage. Hitchcock was in no particular hurry to tell the same story again, but he did owe Paramount a movie and proceeded to do it again. But like a <more>
professional, he did not simply tell the same story. He used the same plot and circumstances, but generated a newer, better film with a fresher story from his 1934 hit. This time casting the always competent James Stewart and the lovely Doris Day as the vacationing parents and having a son â€“ not daughter â€“being kidnapped, Hitchcock created one of his most underrated films that I think deserves to be placed alongside his lists of masterpieces.This was the third of the four movies that Hitchcock made with James Stewart and this is the one that is the least dark and the most free-spirited. It is not a dark, twisted movie like "Vertigo" or "Rear Window" nor is it as good as the said features, but it's one of the director's most thoroughly enjoyable movies. It takes a serious tone, but also has carefully placed moments of comedy that do generate laughs. Hitchcock was a gifted and versatile filmmaker who has entries in his filmography that should accommodate for all mainstreams in the audience. And for those who just want Hitchcock as an exciting, adventurous level, this is the movie I recommend.Part of the reason why I enjoy this more than the original is that I like the parents in the movie more. We get more three-dimensional development from them this time and we sense the struggle to find their son and possibly save a diplomat's life if they can. The movie is held up by the performances by James Stewart and Doris Day. This is the least dark Stewart was in the four movies he had with Hitchcock and it's probably the most conventional performances he did for the Master of Suspense, but nevertheless a very good one. He is totally believably and competent as the frantic, but cool-headed father in love with his family. But what shocks me so much is that in reviews, people oftentimes overlook Doris Day, who I think is just as good as Jimmy Stewart. I'm enthralled by the enthusiasm and the energy that she puts behind her performance. Yes, Day is beautiful, but she's also a more than competent actress who carries out her scenes, especially her emotionally and distressful ones with absolute perfection.If there is a weakness in the movie, it does relate to the villains whom we don't see very often, but that's part of what makes this movie work. Because we don't see the villains often, we sympathize and follow the parents played by Stewart and Day better than if we toggled frequently between both sides. Hitchcock always liked to play against conventions and it shows here. That's another one of the minor differences this has from the original, which did jump between parties more often.And if you're seeking Alfred Hitchcock performing his art of suspenseÂ…you will find it here, never you fear. Hitchcock believed in a theory called pure cinema, in which you did not need sound or dialogue, merely images to generate any emotion. And there is one very famous scene in this movie taking place at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which proves this theory. Hitchcock tells us what to look for â€“ but not the protagonists â€“ and this builds up tension that can go on for as long as he wants to. The scene goes on for twelve minutes â€“ twelve minutes â€“ and every moment of it is sheer suspense coupled with powerful emotion. And there's no dialogue. The sound is dominated by the music. It's very much like watching a silent movie. And it's the most powerful scene in the picture.The original "The Man With No Name" is one of the most interesting examples of Hitchcock's career as an amateur, but the remake, done by a professional, is vastly superior and infinitely entertaining. If I do have a complaint, it's the last thirty seconds of the movie which wrap up a little suddenly, but the previous two hours were so much fun I easily forgive that and enthusiastically shell out my highest rating. "The Man With No Name" is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most entertaining pictures.
One of my favourite Hitchcock movies (by f_desilva)
I know that this film is not considered to be one of Hitchcock's great works, but it will always hold a special place in my memory as it was the first of his movies that I ever saw.Since then I have seen some of his more acclaimed movies such as 'Psycho', 'Rear Window', 'North By Northwest' and 'Notorious'. Although I admired those films a great deal, for me this 50's remake of 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' still embodies the reasons why he is known as the 'Master of Suspense'. So many of his classic touches are there and although they <more>
were perhaps done better in other films, this was my first exposure to his genius.Perhaps this isn't VINTAGE Hitchcock, but it certainly is TYPICAL Hitchcock. Many other IMDB users seem to prefer the original 1934 version to this one. While I don't doubt that the older version is a fine movie, I doubt that I will enjoy it unless it's released on DVD. The video casseste picture and sound quality on other Hitchcock movies I've seen from that era have often degraded to such an extent that viewing the films often becomes a chore rather then a pleasure. Anyone else have that problem as well?
This outstanding Hitchcock thriller is another highlight of a career packed with still rewarding gems. As I watched this, I realised I was viewing a master of his craft at the top of his game: THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is perfectly balanced and up there with other timeless classics like DIAL M FOR MURDER and NORTH BY NORTHWEST.The film follows a traditional Hitchcock template but never feels dull. There's a twist on the classic 'wronged man' theme, as Jimmy Stewart finds himself unwittingly drawn into a conspiracy plot by literally being in the wrong place at the wrong time. <more>
There's globetrotting, some romance Doris Day makes for a fine Hitchcock heroine and the film is worth a watch just for the scenes in which she sings Que Sera, Sera and humour to offset the thrills. Along the way, Hitchcock sets up two plot types that by now seem quite passe but which were groundbreaking in the day: he mixes the kidnapped child plot and the assassination thriller to great effect.It's hard to pick a favourite scene in a film filled with such gems, but I did find the movie gets better as it goes along once the action shifts to London, we lose all the distracting back projection of the Moroccan scenery . The amusing scene in which Stewart tackles Richard Wordsworth so recognisable as the doomed astronaut in Hammer's THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT is a highlight, but nothing comes close to the unbearable suspense of the dialogue-free climax at the Royal Albert Hall, one of the master's best-ever moments, with Reggie Nalder the blue-faced vampire in SALEM'S LOT one of the most sinister villains I've ever watched. The perfect film package? I think so â€“ there are no flaws here.
The original The Man Who Knew Too Much brought Alfred Hitchcock acclaim for the first time outside of the United Kingdom. Of course part of the reason for the acclaim was that folks marveled how Hitchcock on such a skimpy budget as compared to lavish Hollywood products was able to provide so much on the screen. The original film was shot inside a studio.For whatever reason he chose this of all his films to remake, Hitchcock now with an international reputation and a big Hollywood studio behind him Paramount decided to see what The Man Who Knew Too Much would be like with a lavish budget. <more>
This is shot on location in Marrakesh and London and has two big international names for box office. This was James Stewart's third of four Hitchcock films and his only teaming with Doris Day and her only Hitchcock film.I do wonder why Hitchcock never used Doris again. At first glance she would fit the profile of blond leading ladies that Hitchcock favored. Possibly because her wholesome screen image was at odds with the sophistication Hitchcock also wanted in his blondes. Doris does some of her best acting ever in The Man Who Knew Too Much. Her best scene is when her doctor husband James Stewart gives her a sedative before telling her their son has been kidnapped by an English couple who befriended them in Morocco. Stewart and Day play off each other beautifully in that scene. But Doris especially as she registers about four different emotions at once. Day and Stewart are on vacation with their son Christopher Olsen in Morocco and they make the acquaintance of Frenchman Daniel Gelin and the aforementioned English couple, Bernard Miles and Brenda DaBanzie. Gelin is stabbed in the back at a market place in Marrakesh and whispers some dying words to Stewart about an assassination to take place in Albert Hall in London. Their child is snatched in order to insure their silence.For the only time I can think of a hit song came out of a Hitchcock film. Doris in fact plays a noted singer who retired from the stage to be wife and mother. The song was Que Sera Sera and I remember it well at the age of 9. You couldn't go anywhere without hearing it in 1956, it even competed with the fast rising Elvis Presley that year. Que Sera Sera won the Academy Award for Best Song beating out such titles as True Love from High Society and the title song from Around the World in 80 Days. It became Doris Day's theme song for the rest of her life and still is should she ever want to come back.In fact the song is worked quite nicely into the plot as Doris sings it at an embassy party at the climax.Instead of doing it with mirrors, Hitchcock shot the assassination scene at the real Albert Hall and like another reviewer said it's not directed, it's choreographed. You'll be hanging on your seats during that moment.This was remake well worth doing.
Revisting the man and his wife. (by cristianocrivelli)
I hadn't seen it since I was in college. I remembered it like a fun, absurd movie. Now in 2018 what hit me the most was the wife played by Doris Day. She is spectacular and the absurdity becomes totally real just by looking at her. James Stewart is great of course but he seems to be the foil here rather than the center that keeps us connected to that essential leap of faith. The scene in which he gives her the tranquilizers before telling her the terrible news. What Doris Day manages to do with her character is extraordinary. Brenda de Banzie is a terrific villainess and Bernard <more>
Herrmann's score another major plus. I'm sure that even my grandchildren's grandchildren will talk about The Man Who Knew Too Much and about Doris Day.
Many reviewers seem to prefer the original version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, which I have not had the opportunity to view. By itself, the '56 version is a very well done film. The run of mid-to-late fifties Hitchcock films including "Rear Window", "Dial M For Murder", "Vertigo", and "To Catch A Thief", as well as this film is one of my favorite periods in his career. In The Man Who Knew Too Much, Jimmy Stewart throws himself vigorously into his role as always. Doris Day is very believable in the role of an atypical Hitchcock blond. I thought <more>
there was nothing fake about her performance. Her character may not have been written as strongly as the original, but she's definitely not reduced to the role of a passive, "Yes, dear", pretty thing on Jimmy Stewart's arm.There were some really clever lines written for Hank the couple's son who later gets kidnapped in the opening scene on the bus- it's too bad Christopher Olsen read them so woodenly. It's rare to see a good performance from a child actor in the 50s, though. Most of the rest of the supporting actors in this film were very competent, though- most notably the assassin played by Reggie Nalder . Some little touches that make this film undeniably Hitchcockian- the use of non-English dialog, especially French something Hitch did on a much larger scale in "To Catch A Thief" ; the use of foreboding, Arabic music in the hotel when the assassin appears; Stewart and Day talking to each other in the church, singing their words to the tune of the hymn; the Albert Hall scene, specifically showing the musicians and the assassin's accomplice following the score, building up tension, as well as the percussionist getting the cymbals ready; and finally the assassin's gun as it appears from behind the curtain. It moves so slowly and precisely that it must have been done mechanically an effect Hitch used at the end of "Spellbound", also .All in all, The Man Who Knew Too Much is a fun film to watch. It's not as deep or as heavily laden with symbolism as some of his films "Vertigo", "Strangers on a Train" , but all the same it is one of my top five Hitchcock masterpieces.
The master of thrills delivers another thrilling masterwork....almost (by The_Void)
Alfred Hitchcock's more assured telling of a film he made twenty-one years earlier is infinitely superior to the original. Hitchcock said himself that his first version was the work of an amateur, and although it certainly isn't a bad film, he does appear to be right. That being said, this remake, although definitely better, still isn't among Hitchcock's best work. That's certainly not to say that it isn't good, it's just more than a little overindulgent, and that drags it down. Hitchcock seems all too keen to drag certain elements out, and these are parts of the <more>
film that aren't entirely relevant to the plot, which can become annoying. Some of these dragged out sequences, such as the one that sees James Stewart and Doris Day eating in a Moroccan restaurant are good because it helps establish the different culture that our American protagonists have found themselves in, but for every restaurant scene, there's an opera sequence and it's the latter that make the film worse.The plot follows a middle-aged doctor and his wife that go to Morocco for a holiday with their young son. While there, they meet a French man on the bus and another middle-aged couple in a restaurant. However, things go awry when the French man dies from a knife in the back, shortly after whispering something to the doctor. The holiday then turns into a full blown nightmare when the couple's son is kidnapped, which causes them to cut it short and go to London in order to try and find him. The film has a very potent degree of paranoia about it, and it manages to hold this all the way through. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that this is the most paranoid film that Hitchcock ever made. Like most of Hitchcock's films, this one is very thrilling and keeps you on the edge of your seat for almost the entire duration, with only the aforementioned opera sequence standing out as a moment in which the tension is diffused. There is also more than a little humour in the movie, which gives lighthearted relief to the morbid goings on, and actually works quite well.The original version of this story was lent excellent support by the fantastic Peter Lorre. This film doesn't benefit from his presence, unfortunately, but that is made up for by performances from the amazing James Stewart, and Doris Day. James Stewart is a man that is always going to be a contender for the 'greatest actor of all time' crown. His collaborations with Hitchcock all feature mesmerising performances from him, and this one is no different. Although his best performance remains the one in Mr Smith Goes to Washington . Stewart conveys all the courage, conviction and heartbreak of a man that has lost his child and would do anything to get him back brilliantly. In fact, that's one of the best things about this film; you are really able to feel for the couple's loss throughout and that serves in making it all the more thrilling. Doris Day, on the other hand, is a rather strange casting choice for this movie. She's definitely a good actress, but she's more associated with musicals and seeing her in a thriller is rather odd even if she does get to flex her vocal chords a little .As I've mentioned; this is not Hitchcock's best film, but there's much to enjoy about it and although I'd recommend many Hitchcock films before recommending this one, I'll definitely give it two thumbs up as well.
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 <more>
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.
Alfred Hitchcock shows originality in the remake of his own 1934 British film, "The Man Who Knew Too Much". This 1956 take on the same story is much lighter than the previous one. Mr. Hitchcock was lucky in having collaborators that went with him from one film to the next, thus keeping a standard in his work. Robert Burks did an excellent job with the cinematography and George Tomasini's editing shows his talent. Ultimately, Bernard Herrmann is seen conducting at the magnificent Royal Albert Hall in London at the climax of the picture.James Stewart was an actor that worked well <more>
with Mr. Hitchcock. In this version, he plays a doctor from Indiana on vacation with his wife and son. When we meet him, they are on their way to Marrakesh in one local bus and the intrigue begins. His wife is the lovely Doris Day at her best. She had been a well known singer before her marriage and now is the perfect wife and mother. The film has some good supporting cast, Brenda DeBanzie, Bernard Miles, Daniel Gelin, Alan Mowbray, among others, do a great job in portraying their characters.Although this is a "light Hitchcock", one can't dismiss it as a failure. "The Man Who Knew Too Much" is a change of pace for Hitchcock's fans.