A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.
Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920's London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her. Frank takes ... See full summary »
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
British Version is Fast-Paced, Witty, & Atmospheric
Both versions of Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much" are well worth watching, and each one has its own strong points. While this British version cannot match the Hollywood remake in terms of star power and lavish production, it has several strengths of its own: it is fast-paced, filled with wit, and nicely atmospheric. Despite being 20 years older, it is also more 'modern' in its portrayal of the woman whose child is kidnapped.
Aside from Peter Lorre, always a big plus to any movie, the cast does not have too many names that would be familiar to today's audiences, but they all are good actors who fit in well with the style of Hitchcock's British films, exuding self-control and good-natured wit even in the most trying of circumstances. Edna Best as the heroine is noticeably different from Doris Day, lacking the glamour but giving a convincing performance as a more determined, resourceful mother.
There are some interesting settings in this version, too, with much of the action taking place in some interesting buildings in a less elegant neighborhood in London. A lot of it looks a bit murky in the old black-and-white print, but in a sense even that adds to the atmosphere.
Certainly there are those who have good reasons for preferring the remake, but every Hitchcock fan should watch the original, too. Hitchcock's British films had a pleasant style all their own, and while this one might not measure up to "The Lady Vanishes" or "The 39 Steps", it's still very entertaining.
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