6.8/10
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126 user 75 critic

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Not Rated | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 15 April 1935 (USA)
An ordinary British couple vacationing in Switzerland suddenly find themselves embroiled in a case of international intrigue when their daughter is kidnapped by spies plotting a political assassination.

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 ... 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Apart from the opening and end credits, there is only source music in this movie (for example, music that can be heard by the characters), such as dance music in Switzerland and Wapping and the Benjamin cantata (with the rest of the concert on the radio). There is no underscoring music at all. See more »

Goofs

In the fight in the church Leslie Banks struggles with the assassin, rips his top pocket revealing part of an Albert Hall ticket but in a close up the stub is also seen. 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.
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Connections

Referenced in Oliver Twist (1948) 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
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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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Italian | French

Release Date:

15 April 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Knew Too Much See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP40,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (British Acoustic Film Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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