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on July 15, 2004
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Format: Color
Studio: Universal Studios
Video Release Date: August 3, 1999
Cast:
James Stewart ... Dr. Ben McKenna
Doris Day ... Jo McKenna
Brenda De Banzie ... Lucy Drayton
Bernard Miles ... Edward Drayton
Ralph Truman ... Buchanan
Daniel Gélin ... Louis Bernard
Mogens Wieth ... Ambassador
Alan Mowbray ... Val Parnell
Hillary Brooke ... Jan Peterson
Christopher Olsen ... Hank McKenna
Reggie Nalder ... The assassin
Richard Wattis ... Assistant manager
Noel Willman ... Woburn
Alix Talton ... Helen Parnell
Yves Brainville ... Police inspector
Carolyn Jones ... Cindy Fontaine
Harry Fine ... Edington
Alex Frazer ... Man
Wolf Frees ... Aide to the foreign Prime Minister
Milton Frome ... Guard
Leo Gordon ... Chauffer
Walter Gotell ... Guard
Frank Atkinson ... Taxidermist
Bernard Herrmann ... Himself (conductor)
Alfred Hitchcock ... Man in Morocco marketplace
George Howe ... Ambrose Chappell Sr
Harold Kasket ... Butler
Barry Keegan ... Patterson
Lou Krugman ... Arab
Lloyd Lamble ... General manager of Albert Hall
Donald Lawton ... Desk clerk
Mayne Lynton ... Taxidermist
John Barrard ... Taxidermist
Edward Manouk ... French waiter
Richard Marner ... Aide to the foreign Prime Minister
John Marshall ... Butler
Lewis Martin ... Detective
Louis Mercier ... French policeman
Ralph Neff ... Henchman
Leslie Newport ... Inspector at Albert Hall
John O'Malley ... Uniformed attendant
Liddell Peddieson ... Taxidermist
Arthur Ridley ... Ticket collector
Patrick Aherne ... Handyman
Eric Snowden ... Special Branch officer
Alexi Bobrinskoy ... Foreign Prime Minister
Guy Verney ... Footman
Anthony Warde ... French policewoman
Patrick Whyte ... Special Branch officer
Peter Williams ... Police sergeant
Richard Wordsworth ... Ambrose Chappell Jr
Allen Zeidman ... Assistant manager
Clifford Buckton ... Sir Kenneth Clarke
Peter Camlin ... Headwaiter
Abdelhaq Chraibi ... Arab
Gladys Holland ... Bernard's girlfriend
Barbara Howitt ... Soloist in Albert Hall sequence
Enid Lindsey ... Lady Clarke
Janet Macfarlane ... Lady in audience
Betty Bascomb ... Edna
Elsa Palmer ... Cook
Mahin S. Shahrivar ... Arab woman
Alma Taylor ... Box office woman
Janet Bruce ... Box office woman
Naida Buckingham ... Lady in audience
Barbara Burke ... Assassin's girlfriend
Pauline Farr ... Ambassador's wife
Bess Flowers ... Woman in Hotel Lobby
On vacation in Marrakech, Morocco, Dr. Ben McKenna (James Stewart), his wife Jo (Doris Day) and their son Hank (Chrisopher Olson), meet a secret agent, Louis Bernard (Daniel Gélin) who is killed because he is in possession of a secret: a statesman is about to be assassinated in London. Before he dies, he confides in McKenna some of the details. To keep the doctor quiet, the
bad guys grab his son, Hank, and threaten his life.

This is the story as it unfolds. Hitchcock does his usual fine job of keeping up the tension, and of course Stewart and Day do their usual excellent job of acting. This is a superb thriller, and endlessly entertaining.

Joseph (Joe) Pierre

author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
and other books
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on June 25, 2004
Alfred Hitchcock did a wonderful job on this 1935 remake of The Man Who Know Too Much. Dr. Ben McKenna, played by James Stewart, his wife, Jo (Doris Day), and their son are vacationing in French Morocco. They meet up with many suspicious charaters, but they befriend one man, played by Daniel Gelin. Their friend was a detective and was shot in front of many people while in the midst of trying to solve a case. Then the McKenna's son is kidnapped by some other "friends". The police aren't helping with the case so Ben decides to figure out who the kidnappers are by himself. This is the only Alfred Hitchcock film in which a song is sung. The song "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" won an Acadamey Award. Doris Day's acting is brilliant. She really got me to feel like I was her. That my son had just been kidnapped and I could not go on living. The movie was so good that I cried because I was deeply affected by the charaters feelings and emotions. This is one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock thirllers and one of my favorite Doris Day films.
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on May 13, 2004
Alfred Hitchcock remade his own 1934 motion picture. The black & white 75 minute version was good. But now we have this glorious Technicolor 1956 version with a new cast and is 2 hours long. Doris Day and James Stewart are traveling to Marrakech with their son, Hank (Christopher Olsen). Aboard the bus, their son accidentially had removed the black veil (absolutly forbidden) of a native woman. A Mr. Louis Bernard (Daniel Gelin) steps in to save the boy and his parents from disaster. Mr. Bernard turns out to be a kind man from France and helps the family on their vacation. There first stop is in Morocco. Doris is very suspicious of Mr. Bernard because he asks so many questions. Her husband assures his wife it's just small conversation. While the couple goes to dinner without Mr. Bernard, who had a sudden matter to attend to, they meet a couple at dinner who befriends them and helps with dinner etiquette and shopping at the Trade
Market Place. Ultimatly, the couple gets involved in a murder mystery.
This is an excellent Alfred Hitchcock motion picture. Very serious. Doris Day ofers a fine dramatic performance. She also debuts the tune, "Que Sera Sera", which plays a very key role in the film. Christopher Olsen was also in "I'll See You In My Dreams" (1951) and is the brother of Susan Olsen of "The Brady Bunch" tv series.
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on July 17, 2002
1956'S THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is Hitchcock's effective remake of his own 1934 version. An American couple (James Stewart and Doris Day) visiting Morocco have their young son kidnapped as part of an international murder plot which they can not help but be drawn into. Doris Day's performance is brilliant as the mother whose son has been taken from her. Her initial reaction to the news is almost unbearable to watch. This film is very suspenseful and disturbing, as the odds against the family regaining their boy seem insurmountable as the film progresses. This is reinforced by Bernard Herrmann's almost minimal score, which adds an undercurrent of discomfort to the psyche of the viewer. There are some very memorable scenes such as when James Stewart is followed by echoing footsteps in the empty London streets on his way to finding Ambrose Chappell. The suspenseful Albert Hall assassination scenes are brilliantly filmed and edited. The face of Reggie Nalder as Rien the Assassin is unforgettable. Brenda de Banzie turns in a complex performance as Mrs. Drayton. Bernard Miles as Mr. Drayton also gives an effective performance through the various identities he goes through. And that is one of the strengths of this film: people and places are not exactly as they seem. Characters constantly evolve. Some grow in strength while others are mere shadows of virtue.
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on July 13, 2002
This film is great fun. It sets up its exotic North African locale effectively from the beginning, and Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day (as Dr. and Mrs. McKenna) have a strong rapport as a couple traveling with their young son. The movie quickly puts you on edge, as you sense that things are not as they seem and that this family is getting embroiled into some unknown but sinister events. As the plot unfolds and their predicament becomes clearer, the suspense ratchets up in a series of great, anguished scenes in the police office (as Stewart nervously flips the pages of a book while listening to a phone conversation about his endangered son) and the hotel (with Doris Day's pitch-perfect scene in which she finds out that their son has been kidnapped). As the story shifts to London, we have the wonderful "Chappell's Taxidermy" scene and other gems that lead to the justly famous climax at Albert's Hall. There Hitchcock effectively uses dramatic music and acting to let the suspense SLOWLY build to a fever pitch. Part of what makes this scene so stunning is the stillness that prevails during most of it. We know what is coming, but nobody seems able to stop it. Most directors today would try to throw in a bunch of gunplay, explosions, and chases but would end up with something that would not be in the least bit suspenseful.
Although the last part of the film still is entertaining, it seems somewhat anti-climactic after the scene in Albert Hall, and the film ends rather abruptly with a scene played for laughs that needs more breathing space to be effective. The plot seems to hang together well except for one glaring exception: how did the three criminals manage to take over the church in London and have a thriving congregation? Also, and this is a minor point, the first scene with "Que Sera Sera" seems rather stagey, as if part of Mary Poppins or the Sound of Music somehow got mistakenly inserted into this film. Finally, the colors are rather garish. Let's hope that a remastering will take place soon.
All carping aside, this is a gripping film. Doris Day offers a heartfelt, emotional performance and Jimmy Stewart is wonderful as always.
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on June 30, 2002
...even though on the whole, it's a good movie.
The part that doesn't make sense to me is the plot device of wife Doris Day's having been a singing star before her marriage to James Stewart. Yet when we first encounter her in the bus with Stewart and afterwards, she seems only like a doctor's wife. Then comes the info that before she tied the knot, she was known throughout Europe. Well, how realistic is that? How many singing stars just chuck it all to marry a doc from Indianapolis and then go on about how her trip to Morocco was paid for by an appendectomy? It just wouldn't ever have happened, period. I think (and this doesn't spoil anything for those who haven't seen the movie; they can just hold this idea in their mind) a better way to have worked this was that she IS a singing star still, but her doctor husband is a RICH doctor, not some country bumpkin type. Because she's not travelling under her stage name, that's why the secret agent makes his initial mistake about the two couples. Everything else that hinges upon her singing can fall into place neatly after that.
Otherwise, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" has lots of suspenseful moments, very much in the vein of "North by Northwest". Yet, it is not as good as that movie, because it seems more episodic, less like a single thread. Really, the movie is one big chase scene, as Doris and Jimmy track down the kidnappers of their son from Morocco to the Albert Hall and beyond. I will say, though, that the movie really is Doris'. The husband could've been played by anyone--all the intensity is contained within her. She is quite excellent in the scene when he tells her that the child has been kidnapped. I guess she can be considered yet another talent not fully utilized in Hollywood, acting-wise. She got to be hysterical again in "Midnight Lace", but I'm sure she could move beyond hysteria into something else--although I thought she did a poor job in "Love Me or Leave Me" with another James, James Cagney.
Closing remark: Should've been "The Woman Who Found Out Too Much", but still entertaining.
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on November 11, 2001
"The Man Who Knew Too Much" is another of those classic Hitchcock thrillers. It has all the ingredients: a suspenseful plot, first-class acting, dramatic scenes, even great locations and an award-winning song. With all this going for it, though, it just doesn't have quite the impact (in my opinion, anyway) of films like "Psycho", Rear Window", "Vertigo" or "North By Northwest". Perhaps, as somebody else has pointed out, it's because of the "weepy" character portrayed by Doris Day. Sometimes you want to just give her a good shake and tell her to pull herself together. But, who's to say how weepy a woman should be whose child has been kidnapped by terrorists. Perhaps it's because the assasins seem, when all is said and done, a little less ruthless than they ought to be.
Still, this is an excellent movie. The scene in the Royal Albert Hall, leading up to the assasination attempt, is justifiably famous and a great example of Hitchcock's ability to draw out a key scene for maximum dramatic impact. He had truly mastered his craft by this point in his career. While I don't consider this film quite the equal of Hitchcock's greatest movies (for example, the four listed above), it is still nmuch better than the average flick. Maybe just a hair short of a full five stars. Say, five minus, but not enough to drop it down to four plus.
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on May 21, 2001
"The Man Who Knew Too Much" is another of those classic Hitchcock thrillers. It has all the ingredients: a suspenseful plot, first-class acting, dramatic scenes, even great locations and an award-winning song. With all this going for it, though, it just doesn't have quite the impact (in my opinion, anyway) of films like "Psycho", Rear Window", "Vertigo" or "North By Northwest". Perhaps, as somebody else has pointed out, it's because of the "weepy" character portrayed by Doris Day. Sometimes you want to just give her a good shake and tell her to pull herself together. But, who's to say how weepy a woman should be whose child has been kidnapped by terrorists. Perhaps it's because the assasins seem, when all is said and done, a little less ruthless than they ought to be.
Still, this is an excellent movie. The scene in the Royal Albert Hall, leading up to the assasination attempt, is justifiably famous and a great example of Hitchcock's ability to draw out a key scene for maximum dramatic impact. He had truly mastered his craft by this point in his career. While I don't consider this film quite the equal of Hitchcock's greatest movies (for example, the four listed above), it is still nmuch better than the average flick. Maybe just a hair short of a full five stars. Say, five minus, but not enough to drop it down to four plus. Well worth owning (I've got a copy).
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on October 30, 2000
The "Master of Suspense", Alfred Hitchcock, hits another bullseye with his 1956 production of "The Man Who Knew Too Much". Purists have been known to complain that they prefer Hitchcock's original 1934 version of the story to the lavish, widescreen, color version starring James Stewart and Doris Day, but if viewed side by side, both films stand on their own as classic Hitchcock.
The 1956 "Man" unfolds like a beautiful book, methodically, deliberately, and compellingly. Stewart plays an American doctor and Day is his wife, a retired singer. They are vacationing with their young son, Hank, in Morocco, when they become embroiled in an International incident involving a planned assasination. Their son is kidnapped and taken to London. Day and Stewart follow, where they attempt to get some answers and to locate their son, on their own, without the help offered by Scotland Yard. The film reaches it's exciting climax during a concert at Albert Hall in which Day suddenly realizes what is about to occur.
Without giving away some of the intricate plot twists and turns, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" is like a breathtaking ride on a state of the art rollercoaster. You cannot help but get caught up in the plight of Stewart and Day.
James Stewart and Doris Day seem like a real married couple, so easy and comfortable is their onscreen chemistry. They banter and interact convincingly but there is also a strong indication that there may be some tensions lurking beneath the outer veneer. Both actors play their roles with expertise and Day, in particular, shows range and versatility in her performance, being especially memorable in the justly celebrated Albert Hall scene and in an earlier scene when Stewart informs her that their son has been kidnapped. The growing realization as to what he is telling her is reflected in Day's facial reactions.
Hitchcock has once again assembled a first-rate cast of supporting players including his long time musical collaborator, Bernard Herrmann, who appears onscreen for the first time, playing himself while conducting an original piece of music during the Albert Hall sequence. The team of Livingston and Evans composed a song for Day to sing to her son as part of the plot. The tune, "Whatever Will Be, Will Be"(Que Sera, Sera), became a megahit, selling millions of records, winning an Oscar as best song and becoming one of Day's signature tunes. It plays an intricate role in the storyline, being introduced naturally and being reprised as part of the picture's denouement.
The queues that formed at box-offices all over the world when "The Man Who Knew Too Much" opened in the summer of 1956, were a tribute to the talents of Hitchcock, Day, and Stewart, and to the public's continuing fascination with quality entertainment. To this day, the film remains one of Hitchcock's best films from his 1950's period. A movie that is well worth viewing.
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on October 30, 2000
The "Master of Suspense", Alfred Hitchcock, hits another bullseye with his 1956 production of "The Man Who Knew Too Much". Purists have been known to complain that they prefer Hitchcock's original 1934 version of the story to the lavish, widescreen, color version starring James Stewart and Doris Day, but if viewed side by side, both films stand on their own as classic Hitchcock.
The 1956 "Man" unfolds like a beautiful book, methodically, deliberately, and compellingly. Stewart plays an American doctor and Day is his wife, a retired singer. They are vacationing with their young son, Hank, in Morocco, when they become embroiled in an International incident involving a planned assasination. Their son is kidnapped and taken to London. Day and Stewart follow, where they attempt to get some answers and to locate their son, on their own, without the help offered by Scotland Yard. The film reaches it's exciting climax during a concert at Albert Hall in which Day suddenly realizes what is about to occur.
Without giving away some of the intricate plot twists and turns, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" is like a breathtaking ride on a state of the art rollercoaster. You cannot help but get caught up in the plight of Stewart and Day.
James Stewart and Doris Day seem like a real married couple, so easy and comfortable is their onscreen chemistry. They banter and interact convincingly but there is also a strong indication that there may be some tensions lurking beneath the outer veneer. Both actors play their roles with expertise and Day, in particular, shows range and versatility in her performance, being especially memorable in the justly celebrated Albert Hall scene and in an earlier scene when Stewart informs her that their son has been kidnapped. The growing realization as to what he is telling her is reflected in Day's facial reactions.
Hitchcock has once again assembled a first-rate cast of supporting players including his long time musical collaborator, Bernard Herrmann, who appears onscreen for the first time, playing himself while conducting an original piece of music during the Albert Hall sequence. The team of Livingston and Evans composed a song for Day to sing to her son as part of the plot. The tune, "Whatever Will Be, Will Be"(Que Sera, Sera), became a megahit, selling millions of records, winning an Oscar as best song and becoming one of Day's signature tunes. It plays an intricate role in the storyline, being introduced naturally and being reprised as part of the picture's denouement.
The queues that formed at box-offices all over the world when "The Man Who Knew Too Much" opened in the summer of 1956, were a tribute to the talents of Hitchcock, Day, and Stewart, and to the public's continuing fascination with quality entertainment. To this day, the film remains one of Hitchcock's best films from his 1950's period. A movie that is well worth viewing.
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