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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Not Rated | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 15 April 1935 (USA)
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.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Charles Bennett (by), D.B. Wyndham-Lewis (by) (as D.B. Wyndham Lewis) | 3 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Leslie Banks ... Bob Lawrence
Edna Best ... Jill Lawrence
Peter Lorre ... Abbott
Frank Vosper ... Ramon Levine
Hugh Wakefield ... Clive
Nova Pilbeam ... Betty Lawrence
Pierre Fresnay ... Louis Bernard
Cicely Oates ... Nurse Agnes
D.A. Clarke-Smith D.A. Clarke-Smith ... Binstead (as D.A. Clarke Smith)
George Curzon 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:

Lord High Minister of Everything Sinister! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Italian | French

Release Date:

15 April 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre que sabía demasiado See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£40,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (British Acoustic Film Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title of this movie comes from the name of a book written by G.K. Chesterton. See more »

Goofs

During the shoot-out when Abbott goes over and stands by the window, the pane closest to his right shoulder is broken; only half of it remains. The shot cuts away and then back, and now the pane is intact. See more »

Quotes

Nurse Agnes: Relax. Keep your eyes fixed on this light. Keep them fixed. Before receiving the first degree of the seventh old ray, your mind must be white and blank. You are already feeling sleepy. Do you hear me?
Clive: Yes.
Nurse Agnes: Your mind is becoming quite blank. You feel that, don't you? Quite, quite blank.
Clive: Yes. Quite blank.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cluedo: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1992) 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

 
Peter Lorre - the Scene Stealer
2 July 2006 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

I must confess that I rather like this earlier version more than the definitely more polished, bigger budgeted 1956 version. Don't get me wrong, that film is a fine film too, but the lower budget, the quick pace, and the presence of Peter Lorre make this one a gem. Alfred Hitchcock, the undeniable maser of suspense, shows his early skills as a director able to create suspense and engineer circumstances that affect individuals who would normally NOT be affected by them - a Hitchcock trademark. Here we have Leslie Banks and Edna Best playing the parents of a young teen girl who has been kidnapped because her parents were the last ones spoken to by a man(a friend) at a party in a European country. Intrigue abounds, the man tells Best who then tells Banks of a note in a brush handle that alerts them to some international incident that will occur in England. Well, the kidnappers alert them of what they have done and shut them up. But through parental devotion, once in England, the father begins to hunt for his daughter. This film has all those Hitchcock trademarks that we know Hitchcock for. We have the normal person(s) put into extremely difficult and complicated situations. We have expressive camera angles. We have humour amidst taut, tense action. We have good, all-around acting. Banks, just a year or so removed from his awesome portrayal of General Zaroff in The Most Dangerous Game, gives an incredibly low-key, convincing performance as a father trying to find his daughter no matter what. He is able to inject light touches of humour here and there to make his performance all the more real. Best is adequate although a bit wooden. Hugh Wakefield as the uncle is a real hoot. Cicely Oates as a nurse is also very convincing. Peter Lorre; however, solidifies his English/American career as a heavy. Coming from a Hungarian background and not able to speak English yet, Lorre learns his part phonetically - which is all the more impressive when you see his performance as a killer with little scruples yet a generous sense of humour. Lorre conveys menace in his ever-alert eyes and his almost sugary voice. Hitchcock knows just how to use him and the climatic scene really is pulled off rather well. This movie is not very long and it is a tad creaky. It has little budget as well, but it conveys lots of action and suspense and has some very good performances. The air of conspiracy, another director's trademark touch, pervades the film almost from beginning to end.


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