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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Approved | | Drama, Thriller | 1 June 1956 (USA)
2:09 | Trailer

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A family vacationing in Morocco accidentally stumble on to an assassination plot and the conspirators are determined to prevent them from interfering.



(screenplay), (based on a story by) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brenda de Banzie ...
Ralph Truman ...
Louis Bernard (as Daniel Gelin)
Mogens Wieth ...
Christopher Olsen ...
Reggie Nalder ...
Richard Wattis ...
Assistant Manager
Noel Willman ...
Alix Talton ...
Yves Brainville ...
Police Inspector


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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A little knowledge can be a deadly thing! See more »


Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

1 June 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much  »

Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In 1965 Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart filed a $4,000,000 lawsuit against Paramount Pictures, arguing that their eight-year agreement with the studio had ended and that Paramount had breached its copyright by televising the film. The director and actor also requested that Paramount return the film's original negative to them. The final disposition of this suit has not been made public, but the film remained unavailable for commercial exhibition for many years. See more »


When Louis Bernard is stabbed from behind, the assassin hits him just below the neck. When Bernard drags himself along in the next shot, the knife can be seen sticking in his back much lower, between the shoulder blades. See more »


[to Drayton]
Ambassador: You have muddled everything from the start, taking that child with you from Marrakesh. Don't you realize that Americans dislike having their children stolen?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: A single crash of Cymbals and how it rocked the lives of an American family. See more »


Storm Cloud Cantata
by Arthur Benjamin and D.B. Wyndham-Lewis
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Bernard Herrmann
Orchestrated by Bernard Herrmann (uncredited)
Covent Garden Chorus and Barbara Howitt, soloist
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Under-rated suspense masterwork.
16 January 2001 | by (Huntington, NY) – See all my reviews

When you start watching the 1956 version of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, you'll think it's a minor work by Alfred Hitchcock. The countless scenes showing a lovely, but buffoonish vacationing American couple (James Stewart, Doris Day) seem to lead nowhere. But, hold on, about thirty minutes into the film, during a very dreamlike murder sequence (which takes place in bright sunlight, and involves blue paint) the film really takes off. Personally, I find the opening "character development" sequence between protagonists James Stewart and Doris Day very charming. It sets you up for the second and third acts of the film. You get to like this couple so much, you are raelly rooting for them as they try to rescue their kidnapped son amidst a plot to assassinate a visiting diplomat. Of course, the high-point of the film is the assassination itself, a twelve minute wordless sequence. Hitchcock beautifully brings us back to silent film! The ending, which involves a rescue at an embassy, is wonderfully silly and tense. For those not familiar with Hitchcock, this is Hitchcock's own remake of a film he made under the same title in 1934 in England. This is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. It's proof that this master loved his audience and wanted to keep them thrilled!

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