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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Approved | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 15 April 1935 (USA)
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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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Edna Best ...
...
Frank Vosper ...
Ramon
Hugh Wakefield ...
Clive
Nova Pilbeam ...
Betty Lawrence
...
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:

Public Enemy No. 1 of all the world... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

15 April 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre que sabía demasiado  »

Box Office

Budget:

£40,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(British Acoustic Film Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The siege at the end of the film showing the police in a gun battle is based on the real-life Sidney Street siege, which took place on 3 January 1911 in which London police and a unit of the army's Scots Guards shot it out with a gang of heavily armed anarchists who had previously been involved in the murders of three police officers. Two anarchists and a police officer were killed. See more »

Goofs

(at around 21 mins) When Bob Lawrence and his daughter exit the chalet porch to watch the trap shoot, Bob pushes the left door outwards. When the camera cuts to an outside view of their leaving the building, it's the other door that is swinging shut, and it is closing from the inside. See more »

Quotes

Abbott: You know, to a man with a heart as soft as mine, there's nothing sweeter than a touching scene.
Bob Lawrence: Such as?
Abbott: Such as a father saying goodbye to his child. Yeah, goodbye for the last time. What could be more touching than that?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Do You Like Hitchcock? (2005) 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
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User Reviews

British Version is Fast-Paced, Witty, & Atmospheric
20 July 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

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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