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.
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 market scene when Louis Bernard is murdered, his hands switch from dyed when he is stabbed, clean when staggering with the knife in his back, and back to dyed when he meets Dr. McKenna. See more »
Partly because the rights to this film were acquired from Paramount by Universal,the Paramount VistaVision fanfare is played over the opening Universal logo. This is the way it is currently (2005) shown on television. in the re-release version (1984). See more »
Hitchcock remake is far superior to his earlier '34 version...
It does happen, once in awhile, that a remake emerges as a far better film than the original, which is true of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, which not only changes many of the plot twists but also changes the setting to a more exotic one in Morocco.
The script is much more detailed and wittier than the original, giving charismatic roles to JAMES STEWART and DORIS DAY as the American husband and wife who learn about an assassination plot and then have to spend the rest of the story trying to rescue their son from the would be assassins.
Not surprisingly, Day does get a chance to have her way with a song and in this case it's a good one, Que Sera, Sera, which went on to become a huge recording hit for her. But the musical sequence that dominates the film and provides its most climactic moment is the Albert Hall sequence using "Stormcloud Cantata" (with Bernard Herrmann conducting) and the famous symbols that are about to clash, timed with the assassin's shot.
Photographed on location in gorgeous Technicolor, with a good score by Herrmann and an intelligent script by John Michael Hayes, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is superior entertainment from "the master of suspense".
Especially worth noting are the sinister performances by BRENDA de BANZIE and BERNARD MILES as the kidnappers and DANIEL GELIN as the man in the marketplace whose death puts the whole story into gear.
Trivia note: Hitchcock himself called his early version "the work of an amateur" and got his wish to do a remake at a time when he was doing his best work.
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