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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 failure of the original copyright holder to renew the copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS or DVD copy of this movie. Therefore, many versions of this movie available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the movie. See more »

Goofs

(at around 21 mins) When Bob Lawrence and his daughter exit the chalet porch to watch the trap shoot, Bob pushes the left door outwards. When the camera cuts to an outside view of their leaving the building, it's the other door that is swinging shut, and it is closing from the inside. 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 Where Danger Lives: White Rose for Julie (2007) 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

Vintage Hitchcock that is a little too stiff for it's own good
23 July 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Whilst on holiday in Switzerland to compete in winter sports the Lawrence family inadvertently meet a spy who is killed in front of them. He passes information to them relating to an assassination but, before they can pass on the information their daughter is kidnapped for their silence. Back in London they decide to start looking for the kidnappers and prevent the assassination themselves.

Hitchcock's strength here is that an wholly unlikely plot which is full of holes is masked by a sense of wit and good feeling that covers the flaws. The whole thing falls down under scrutiny and as a thriller it doesn't really cut it as well as I'd hoped – it certainly doesn't compare to The 39 Steps. However the film is very classy and very, very British.

I expect to American audiences nowadays that the very polite gentleman like approach of the film is very strange but it works quite well. The final shoot out lacks excitement simply because it is unrealistic in the extreme but it's still quite enjoyable and has it's moments. Lorre is good as the villain but lacks the smarmy qualities he brought to later films. Leslie Banks is very good as the solid British hero and Best is good as his sassy (if underused) wife. Wakefield has a good comedy role as Banks' side kick.

Overall the age of the film means it feels very stagy and very stiff but there's still much to enjoy with good settings, comedy and vintage Hitchcockian touches.


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