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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

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Movie Info & Cast

Synopsis

The debate still rages as to whether Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much is superior to his own original 1934 version. This two-hour remake (45 minutes longer than the first film) features more stars, a lusher budget, and the plaintive music of Bernard Herrmann (who appears on-camera, typecast as a symphony conductor). Though the locale of the opening scenes shifts from Switzerland to French Morocco in the newer version, the basic plot remains the same. American tourists James Stewart and Doris Day are witness to the street killing of a Frenchman (Daniel Gelin) they've recently befriended. Before breathing his last, the murder victim whispers a secret to Stewart (the Cinemascope lens turns this standard closeup into a truly grotesque vignette). Stewart knows that a political assassination will occur during a concert at London's Albert Hall, but is unable to tell the police: his son (a daughter in the original) has been kidnapped by foreign agents to insure Stewart's silence. The original script for Man Who Knew too Much was expanded and updated by John Michael Hayes and Angus McPhail.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Cast

  • James Stewart
  • Doris Day
  • Brenda de Banzie
  • Bernard Miles
  • Ralph Truman
  • Daniel Gélin
  • Mogens Wieth
  • Alan Mowbray
  • Hillary Brooke
  • Christopher Olsen

Did You Know?

Trivia

  • Many of the Moroccan extras had been mistakenly informed that they would only be paid if they were actually visible in the movie. This led to a lot of pushing and shoving to get close to the camera, until the crew explained to them that they would be paid no matter what.
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Goofs

  • Ben climbs up the bell rope and out the top of the bell tower to escape the chapel. A bell in such a small tower could not possibly be heavy enough to counterbalance Ben's body weight. Therefore, Ben would pull the bell to its limit whilst climbing, and the bell would not ring repeatedly as he climbs the rope. When Ben pulls the rope taut so that he can rappel down the roof, the bell rings twice more.
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Quotes

    • [to Louis Bernard]
    • Hank McKenna: If you ever get hungry, our garden back home is full of snails. We tried everything to get rid of them. We never thought of a Frenchman!
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Metacritic

88

Hitchcock's glossier and more complex remake of his classic 1934 spy thriller, with James Stewart and Doris Day as the average American couple caught in a whirlwind of intrigue and terror. [26 Nov 1999, p.A]

Metacritic review by Michael Wilmington
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune