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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery  |  15 April 1935 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 11,297 users  
Reviews: 95 user | 68 critic

A man and his wife receive a clue to an imminent assassination attempt, only to learn that their daughter has been kidnapped to keep them quiet.

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(by), (by) (as D.B.Wyndham Lewis) , 3 more credits »
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Title: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Leslie Banks ...
Edna Best ...
...
Frank Vosper ...
Ramon
Hugh Wakefield ...
Clive
Nova Pilbeam ...
Betty Lawrence
Pierre Fresnay ...
Cicely Oates ...
Nurse Agnes
D.A. Clarke-Smith ...
Binstead (as D.A.Clarke Smith)
George Curzon ...
Gibson
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Storyline

While holidaying in Switzerland, Lawrence and his wife Jill are asked by a dying friend, Louis Bernard, to get information hidden in his room to the British Consulate. They get the information, but when they deny having it, their daughter Betty is kidnapped. It turns out that Louis was a Foreign Office spy and the information has to do with the assassination of a foreign dignitary. Having managed to trace his daughter's kidnappers back to London, Lawrence learns that the assassination will take place during a concert at the Albert Hall. It is left to Jill, however, to stop the assassination. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Lord High Minister of Everything Sinister! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

15 April 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre que sabía demasiado  »

Box Office

Budget:

£40,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(British Acoustic Film Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The crucial cantata for the Albert Hall sequence was composed specifically for the film by Arthur Benjamin, and the same piece was used again in the 1956 remake. When Alfred Hitchcock remade the movie, he offered composer Bernard Herrmann the opportunity to compose a new work for the scene, but Herrmann chose not to, citing an appreciation of Benjamin's original cantata. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where the man is shot through the window, near the beginning of the film, just before he is shot, he turns to face another man. At that time, you can see the beginnings of a blood stain on his shirt next to his lapel...before he's shot! See more »

Quotes

Abbott: Tell her they may soon be leaving us. Leaving us for a long, long journey. How is it that Shakespeare says? "From which no traveler returns." Great poet.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Unikal'noe pozdravlenie (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Storm Clouds Cantata
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Arthur Benjamin
Words by D.B. Wyndham-Lewis
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
Under the direction of H. Wynn Reeves
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sending Hitch on his way
14 May 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Although Alfred Hitchcock made several better films than this, including the 1956 remake, The Man Who Knew Too Much is a milestone film for the rotund master of suspense. It was the first film that got him noticed outside the United Kingdom, it led to bigger budgets for Hithcock to work with in British film industry and eventually to his departure for America.

Leslie Banks and Edna Best, Mr.and Mrs. upper class British couple on holiday in Switzerland with their adolescent daughter Neva Pilbeam. A Frenchman they befriend, Pierre Fresnay, is killed right in front of them on a dance floor and he whispers something to Banks about a planned assassination in London to occur shortly. The spies suspect what the dying Fresnay has said to Banks and grab Pilbeam to insure the silence of her parents.

The rest of this short (75 minute) feature is Banks and Best trying to both foil the assassination and get their daughter back. At the climax Best's skill at skeet shooting becomes a critical factor in the final confrontation with the villains.

Peter Lorre made his English language debut in The Man Who Knew Too Much and was very effective with the limited dialog he had. I've often wondered why Hitchcock never used Lorre more in some of his later features.

Although the 1956 version has far better production values, this version still holds up quite well and is worth a look.


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