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 Marrakech, when Dr. McKenna and Jo go to the police headquarters, he sits behind the desk and she sits at the corner of the desk. In the next shot they are sitting side by side. See more »
A man... a statesman... is to be killed... assassinated in London. Soon... very soon. Tell them in London... tell them to try Ambrose Chapel...
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Opening credits prologue: A single crash of Cymbals and how it rocked the lives of an American family. See more »
Alfred Hitchcock shows originality in the remake of his own 1934 British film, "The Man Who Knew Too Much". This 1956 take on the same story is much lighter than the previous one. Mr. Hitchcock was lucky in having collaborators that went with him from one film to the next, thus keeping a standard in his work. Robert Burks did an excellent job with the cinematography and George Tomasini's editing shows his talent. Ultimately, Bernard Herrmann is seen conducting at the magnificent Royal Albert Hall in London at the climax of the picture.
James Stewart was an actor that worked well with Mr. Hitchcock. In this version, he plays a doctor from Indiana on vacation with his wife and son. When we meet him, they are on their way to Marrakesh in one local bus and the intrigue begins. His wife is the lovely Doris Day at her best. She had been a well known singer before her marriage and now is the perfect wife and mother. The film has some good supporting cast, Brenda DeBanzie, Bernard Miles, Daniel Gelin, Alan Mowbray, among others, do a great job in portraying their characters.
Although this is a "light Hitchcock", one can't dismiss it as a failure. "The Man Who Knew Too Much" is a change of pace for Hitchcock's fans.
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