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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

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:

Public Enemy No. 1 of all the world... 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 siege at the end of the film showing the police in a gun battle is based on the real-life Sidney Street siege, which took place on 3 January 1911 in which London police and a unit of the army's Scots Guards shot it out with a gang of heavily armed anarchists who had previously been involved in the murders of three police officers. Two anarchists and a police officer were killed. See more »

Goofs

When Mr. Lawrence is waiting for the woman to bring in Betty, his hand with the cigarette switches positions in between shots. See more »

Quotes

Abbott: The arm of the English law needed help in taking our friend to the station - very, very reluctantly. I've given him in charge.
Nurse Agnes: For disorderly conduct in a sacred edifice.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Search Party: The Woman Who Knew Too Much (2016) 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

 
Sending Hitch on his way
14 May 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Although Alfred Hitchcock made several better films than this, including the 1956 remake, The Man Who Knew Too Much is a milestone film for the rotund master of suspense. It was the first film that got him noticed outside the United Kingdom, it led to bigger budgets for Hithcock to work with in British film industry and eventually to his departure for America.

Leslie Banks and Edna Best, Mr.and Mrs. upper class British couple on holiday in Switzerland with their adolescent daughter Neva Pilbeam. A Frenchman they befriend, Pierre Fresnay, is killed right in front of them on a dance floor and he whispers something to Banks about a planned assassination in London to occur shortly. The spies suspect what the dying Fresnay has said to Banks and grab Pilbeam to insure the silence of her parents.

The rest of this short (75 minute) feature is Banks and Best trying to both foil the assassination and get their daughter back. At the climax Best's skill at skeet shooting becomes a critical factor in the final confrontation with the villains.

Peter Lorre made his English language debut in The Man Who Knew Too Much and was very effective with the limited dialog he had. I've often wondered why Hitchcock never used Lorre more in some of his later features.

Although the 1956 version has far better production values, this version still holds up quite well and is worth a look.


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