The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956 film)
Independent Films, Film Profiles
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 VistaVision and Technicolor of Hitchcock's 1934 film of the same name.In the book-length interview, Hitchcock/Truffaut (1967), Hitchcock told fellow filmmaker François Truffaut that 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. It was also entered into the 1956 Cannes Film Festival. 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 Miles and Brenda De Banzie), at dinner in a local restaurant.The next day, outdoors in a busy Marrakesh marketplace, 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.
Year of Production: 1956
Length: 120 min.
Country: United States
- Alfred Hitchcock
- Uncredited:, Alfred Hitchcock
- James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda De Banzie, Bernard Miles, Alan Mowbray, Hillary Brooke, Christopher Olsen