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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

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Reviews: 94 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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Title: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Leslie Banks ...
Edna Best ...
...
Abbott
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:

Public Enemy No. 1 of all the world... 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 film's producer, C.M. Woolf, hated the film and only allowed it to be released as the bottom half of a double bill. Nevertheless, it won rave reviews. See more »

Goofs

The position of Mr. Lawrence's cigarette varies between shots when he is in the Tabernacle church. 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 Road Rovers: The Dog Who Knew Too Much (1996) 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

Vintage Hitchcock that is a little too stiff for it's own good
23 July 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Whilst on holiday in Switzerland to compete in winter sports the Lawrence family inadvertently meet a spy who is killed in front of them. He passes information to them relating to an assassination but, before they can pass on the information their daughter is kidnapped for their silence. Back in London they decide to start looking for the kidnappers and prevent the assassination themselves.

Hitchcock's strength here is that an wholly unlikely plot which is full of holes is masked by a sense of wit and good feeling that covers the flaws. The whole thing falls down under scrutiny and as a thriller it doesn't really cut it as well as I'd hoped – it certainly doesn't compare to The 39 Steps. However the film is very classy and very, very British.

I expect to American audiences nowadays that the very polite gentleman like approach of the film is very strange but it works quite well. The final shoot out lacks excitement simply because it is unrealistic in the extreme but it's still quite enjoyable and has it's moments. Lorre is good as the villain but lacks the smarmy qualities he brought to later films. Leslie Banks is very good as the solid British hero and Best is good as his sassy (if underused) wife. Wakefield has a good comedy role as Banks' side kick.

Overall the age of the film means it feels very stagy and very stiff but there's still much to enjoy with good settings, comedy and vintage Hitchcockian touches.


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