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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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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

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

The position of Mr. Lawrence's cigarette varies between shots when he is in the Tabernacle church. See more »

Quotes

Abbott: You know, to a man with a heart as soft as mine, there's nothing sweeter than a touching scene.
Bob Lawrence: Such as?
Abbott: Such as a father saying goodbye to his child. Yeah, goodbye for the last time. What could be more touching than that?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hitchcock: Shadow of a Genius (1999) 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

 
Vastly underrated
27 September 2002 | by zetesSee all my reviews

One of Hitchcock's best films, and entirely undervalued. I love most of Hitch's films. His bigger productions of the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s are probably best loved, but I really like his grittier, more reality-based films as well. During that period, The Wrong Man is almost entirely overlooked, despite being one of his greatest achievements. This kind of film was most common during his British career, where he had less money to work with. I myself am least familiar with the first chunk of the man's career, but I have seen enough of them. My favorite so far is definitely Sabotage (1936), which is another criminally underrated film. The first version of The Man Who Knew Too Much is a close second favorite. A terrorist group (led by Peter Lorre) kills a secret agent in Switzerland. Bob and Jill Lawrence discover that the group is planning to assassinate a foreign diplomat in London in the upcoming days, so the group kidnaps their daughter to keep them quiet. They're unwilling to tell the police about the kidnapping, and eventually take it upon themselves to find her. They have to do it quickly, for, if the diplomat is killed because they withheld information from the police, a second World War could rest upon their shoulders. The story isn't particularly complex, but Hitchcock's cinema is as spectacular as it ever was, while aiming for a low key. There are a dozen memorable scenes in the film, most notably the concert with the slowly revolving camera as Jill Lawrence scans the room for the assassin. And I love the realistic standoff near the end of the film, as the police slowly move citizens to safety as the terrorists shoot from the dark. The acting is also very good, with Edna Best (as Jill Lawrence) and especially Peter Lorre (how can you not love this guy?) standing above the rest. 10/10.


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