A man in London tries to help a counter-espionage Agent. But when the Agent is killed, and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to save himself and stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.
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
The siege at the end of the movie showing the police in a gun battle is based on the real-life Sidney Street siege, which took place on January 3, 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 »
When the man is shot through the window, near the beginning of the film, just before he is shot, he turns to face another man. At that time, you can see the beginnings of a blood stain on his shirt next to his lapel...*before* he's shot. See more »
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?
Your mind is becoming quite blank. You feel that, don't you? Quite, quite blank.
Yes. Quite blank.
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There is a long-standing tradition in film for someone to come along at a later time and feel moved to remake a movie now considered a classic.
In many cases, the remake is really nothing more than an homage to the earlier version----perhaps updated to reflect the use of color and employment of some subsequent technical advances---but with little else to offer. "Prisoner of Zenda" (1952) and the recent "Psycho" come to mind as examples of such productions.
Occasionally, the creator of the earlier film feels inspired to try to improve upon it himself. This by no means ensures success. Compare Frank Capra's "Lady for a Day" (1934) with his "Pocketful of Miracles." ((1951) On the other hand, many believe that DeMille's "Ten Commandments" (1956) is better in its story telling than his silent version made in 1923.
So much has been written about the two versions of "Man Who Knew Too Much" that there is very little one can add that hasn't been said before. Having seen them recently back-to-back, my personal opinion is that they are both flawed---but in different ways. The earlier film is quaintly primitive---particularly in matters involving continuity, use of sound, editing and other technical issues. On the other hand, the later version seems excessively padded with much extraneous material, has a male juvenile actor who is quite inferior to Nova Pilbeam in the original and has villains who lack the unique menace of Peter Lorre---with his rare combination of subtle humor, wit and terror.
In the end, the viewer is left with a sort of Hobson's Choice. Hitchcock himself said that the earlier work was that of a skilled amateur while the latter was the effort of a seasoned professional. No doubt in many ways he is right.
But there is something to be said about the sheer originality and power of a first effort----flawed though it may be. "Citizen Kane" was also the product of a skilled amateur. Could a more mature Orson Welles have improved upon it even with its flaws?
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