- The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956 film)
name = The Man Who Knew Too Much
caption= Original film poster
imdb_id = 0049470
writer = Story:
Charles Bennett D.B. Wyndham-Lewis
John Michael Hayes
starring = James Stewart
Doris Day Brenda De Banzie Bernard Miles Alan Mowbray Hillary Brooke
producer = Uncredited:
cinematography = Robert Burks
released = flagicon|USA
June 1, 1956
runtime = 120 min.
language = English
music = Score:
Bernard Herrmann Arthur Benjamin
Ray Evans Jay Livingston
amg_id = 1:31108
budget = US$ 1,200,000
"The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956) is a suspense film directed by
Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart and Doris Day. The film is a remake in widescreen VistaVisionand Technicolorof Hitchcock's 1934 film of the same name.
In the book-length interview, "Hitchcock/Truffaut" (1967), Hitchcock told fellow filmmaker
François Truffautthat he considered his 1956 remake to be superior, saying that the 1934 version was the work of a talented amateur, the 1956 version the work of a professional.
The film won an Academy Award for Best Song for "
Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," sung by Doris Day at several points in the action.
An American family, Dr. Ben McKenna (
James Stewart), his wife Jo ( Doris Day) and their son Hank (Christopher Olsen) are on vacation, traveling in Morocco. They befriend a fellow traveler, the mysterious Louis Bernard ( Daniel Gelin), on a bus. Later that same day, the couple meets another vacationing couple, the Draytons ( Bernard Milesand Brenda De Banzie), at dinner in a local restaurant.
The next day, outdoors in a busy
Marrakeshmarketplace, the McKennas are shocked to witness the assassination of a man who turns out to be Bernard in disguise. Before dying, he whispers into Ben McKenna's ear a terrible secret: that someone's life is in danger. The Draytons, not nearly as innocent as they seem, kidnap the boy Hank in order to be able to pressure Dr. McKenna into not telling the local police what he has learned.
After following a number of leads, McKenna tracks the kidnappers to a church, where Drayton is posing as the minister. Ben learns that the Draytons are involved in a plot to assassinate a European head of state during a symphony orchestra concert at the
Royal Albert Hall.
Ben and Jo separately track the killer to the concert, where he is to shoot the dignitary at the exact moment of time when the orchestra's music features a loud and climactic cymbal crash. At the moment of truth, Jo screams. The sudden unexpected sound causes the assassin to misfire. Ben chases the assassin, who falls to his death from a balcony.
The couple then follow the kidnappers to the ambassador's residence in London, where they are welcomed as heroes for saving the head of state's life. Mrs. Drayton, unable to be complicit in the plan to kill Hank, helps the boy find his father. Mr. Drayton tries to escape with the two as hostages, but is struck by Ben and falls down the stairs to his death when the gun he is holding fires accidentally. It is never explained what ultimately happens to Mrs. Drayton, but she is there watching when her husband is killed, and does not show any emotion when it happens.
Alfred Hitchcock's cameo is a signature occurrence in most of his films. In "The Man Who Knew Too Much" he can be seen (25 minutes into the film) watching acrobats in the Moroccan marketplace, with his back to the camera, just before the spy is killed.
Music plays an important part in this film.Fact|date=January 2008 Although the film's composer,
Bernard Herrmann, wrote relatively little "background" music for this film, the performance of Arthur Benjamin's cantata "Storm Clouds", conducted by Herrmann, is the climax of the film. In addition, Doris Day's character is a well-known, now retired, professional singer. Several times in the film, she sings the Livingston & Evans song " Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" which won the 1956 Best Song Oscar under the alternate title "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)." The song reached number two on the U.S. pop charts [Whitburn (1987), p. 87] and number one in the UK [cite web | url=http://www.everyhit.com | title=everyHit.com - UK Top 40 Hit Database | accessdate=2008-08-25 | date= June 1956| work=everyHit.com] .
Herrmann was given the option of composing a new cantata to be performed during the film's climax. However, he found
Arthur Benjamin's cantata "Storm Clouds" from the original 1934 film to be so well suited to the film that he declined. Herrmann can be seen conducting the London Symphony Orchestraand singers during the Royal Albert Hall scenes. The sequence in Albert Hall runs 12 minutes without any dialogue, from the beginning of "Storm Clouds" until the climax, when the Doris Day character screams.
Comparison of the 1934 and 1956 versions
The plots of the two versions vary substantially. The first opens in St Moritz, Switzerland; the second in Morocco. The first climaxes in a siege and shoot-out in London's East End - this scene was not incorporated in the US remake. The kidnapped daughter in the 1934 version becomes a son in the later one.
The film has been released on home video by
Universal Pictures, which acquired the rights to Hitchcock's Paramount films, in both VHS and DVD formats. The 2000 DVD includes a special documentary on the making of the film, including interviews with Hitchcock's daughter, Patricia Hitchcock, and members of the production crew. The DVD retains the original VistaVision aspect ratio, capturing the full widescreen impact of the film, with digitally restored images.
last1 = Whitburn| first1 = Joel
title = The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (3rd Ed.)
publisher = Billboard Publications
year = 1987
isbn = 0823075206.
*imdb title | id = 0049470 | title = The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956 version)
* [http://film.virtual-history.com/film.php?filmid=861 Movie stills]
* [http://www.radiotimes.com/servlet_film/com.icl.beeb.rtfilms.client.simpleSearchServlet?frn=10592&searchTypeSelect=5 Review at Radiotimes.com]
* [http://www.eyegate.com/cine/The_Man_Who_Knew_Too_Much_(1956)/ "The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)" Eyegate Gallery]
* [http://www.hitchcockwiki.com/hitchcock/wiki/The_Man_Who_Knew_Too_Much_1956 Alfred Hitchcock Wiki:The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)]
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