A French intelligence agent becomes embroiled in the Cold War politics first with uncovering the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missle Crisis, and then back to France to break up an international Russian spy ring.
While attending a medical conference in Paris, American physician Dr. Ben McKenna, his wife, retired musical theater actress and singer Jo McKenna née Conway, and their adolescent son Hank McKenna decide to take a side trip to among other places Marrekesh, French Morocco. With a knife plunged into his back, Frenchman Louis Bernard, who the family met earlier in their bus ride into Marrakesh and who is now masquerading as an Arab, approaches Ben, cryptically whispering into Ben's ears that there will be an attempted assassination in London of a statesman, this news whispered just before Bernard dies. Ben is reluctant to provide any information of this news to the authorities because concurrently Hank is kidnapped by British couple, Edward and Lucy Drayton, who also befriended the McKennas in Marrakesh and who probably have taken Hank out of the country back to England. Whoever the unknown people the Draytons are working for have threatened to kill Hank if Ben divulges any information ... Written by
Conductor Bernard Herrmann plays himself on-screen. He's listed as such in the beginning credits, and his name can be seen on the poster play bill when Doris Day exits the taxi at Albert Hall. All the names on the poster play bill are those of the performers of the "Cantata Storm Clouds" : the London Symphony Orchestra, Barbara Howitt (mezzo-soprano) and the Covent Garden Opera Chorus. See more »
In the beginning of the picture, as the bus is entering Marrakech, a high, wide-angle shot shows a black Volkswagen Beetle driving in front of it (in fact, it's going so slowly that the bus has to slow down in order not to hit it). In the very next shot, taken from a side angle, the VW has disappeared. See more »
[to Louis Bernard]
If you ever get hungry, our garden back home is full of snails. We tried everything to get rid of them. We never thought of a Frenchman!
See more »
Opening credits prologue: A single crash of Cymbals and how it rocked the lives of an American family. See more »
Not one of my favorite Hitchcock movies, but worth seeing.
I'm not sure why I didn't have a more enthusiastic reaction to The Man Who Knew Too Much. Hitchcock is the director that got me interested in classic cinema, and Rear Window, Notorious, Psycho, The Birds, Rebecca, and The Lady Vanishes are all among my favorite movies. It's a globe-trotting adventure with all the tension, intrigue, assassinations, conspiracies, and suspense you could want, but there's something about it that just didn't really catch my interest until the last 30 minutes, or so. The ending is great, but the rest of the movie was just missing something, in my opinion.
The problem certainly wasn't with the two lead actors. James Stewart gave another great performance under Hitchcock's eye (he was my favorite Hitchcock leading man), and Doris Day was charmingly determined and convincing as a confused wife and mother, desperately searching for her son.
The Man Who Knew Too Much certainly isn't a bad movie (is there such a thing as a bad Hitchcock movie?), and I expect that other people might have a more favorable response to it than I did. I suspect this is just one of those times when a good film just doesn't completely "click", with me, for whatever reason. I recommend it to anyone who is interested, though.
13 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?