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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

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An American physician and his wife take matters into their own hands after assassins planning to execute a foreign prime minister kidnap their son.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

John Michael Hayes (screenplay), Charles Bennett (based on a story by) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,254 ( 1,059)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Stewart ... Dr. Benjamin McKenna
Doris Day ... Josephine Conway McKenna
Brenda de Banzie Brenda de Banzie ... Lucy Drayton
Bernard Miles ... Edward Drayton
Ralph Truman Ralph Truman ... Inspector Buchanan, Special Branch
Daniel Gélin ... Louis Bernard
Mogens Wieth Mogens Wieth ... Ambassador
Alan Mowbray ... Val Parnell
Hillary Brooke ... Jan Peterson
Christopher Olsen ... Hank McKenna
Reggie Nalder ... French Marksman
Richard Wattis ... Albert Hall Assistant Manager
Noel Willman ... Woburn, Special Branch
Alix Talton ... Helen Parnell
Yves Brainville Yves Brainville ... French Police Inspector
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Storyline

While attending a medical conference in Paris, American physician Dr. Ben McKenna, his wife, retired musical theater actress and singer Jo McKenna née Conway, and their adolescent son Hank McKenna decide to take a side trip to among other places Marrekesh, French Morocco. With a knife plunged into his back, Frenchman Louis Bernard, who the family met earlier in their bus ride into Marrakesh and who is now masquerading as an Arab, approaches Ben, cryptically whispering into Ben's ears that there will be an attempted assassination in London of a statesman, this news whispered just before Bernard dies. Ben is reluctant to provide any information of this news to the authorities because concurrently Hank is kidnapped by British couple, Edward and Lucy Drayton, who also befriended the McKennas in Marrakesh and who probably have taken Hank out of the country back to England. Whoever the unknown people the Draytons are working for have threatened to kill Hank if Ben divulges any information ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A little knowledge can be a deadly thing! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arabic | French

Release Date:

1 June 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$10,250,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bernard Herrmann was given the option of composing a new cantata to be performed during the film's climax. However, he found Arthur Benjamin's cantata Storm Clouds from the original The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) to be so well suited to the film that he declined, although he did expand the orchestration, and insert several repeats to make the sequence longer. Herrmann can be seen conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and singers during the Royal Albert Hall scenes. See more »

Goofs

On their first morning in London, McKenna leaves a taxi and walks down a quiet residential street and stops at the next corner. Four or five camera shots were taken as he slowly walked down the street. In the first three or four shots the shadow of the buildings along the block extended across the sidewalk to about three feet into the street. But in the final scene at the corner the shadows were gone. See more »

Quotes

Jo McKenna: So, what do you do?
Louis Bernard: I buy and sell.
Jo McKenna: I see. And what do you buy and sell?
Louis Bernard: Whatever gives the most profit.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: A single crash of Cymbals and how it rocked the lives of an American family. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Glass Bottom Boat (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

We'll Love Again
(1956)
by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Performed by Doris Day (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Not one of my favorite Hitchcock movies, but worth seeing.
28 March 2011 | by lewiskendellSee all my reviews

I'm not sure why I didn't have a more enthusiastic reaction to The Man Who Knew Too Much. Hitchcock is the director that got me interested in classic cinema, and Rear Window, Notorious, Psycho, The Birds, Rebecca, and The Lady Vanishes are all among my favorite movies. It's a globe-trotting adventure with all the tension, intrigue, assassinations, conspiracies, and suspense you could want, but there's something about it that just didn't really catch my interest until the last 30 minutes, or so. The ending is great, but the rest of the movie was just missing something, in my opinion. 

The problem certainly wasn't with the two lead actors. James Stewart gave another great performance under Hitchcock's eye (he was my favorite Hitchcock leading man), and Doris Day was charmingly determined and convincing as a confused wife  and mother, desperately searching for her son. 

The Man Who Knew Too Much certainly isn't a bad movie (is there such a thing as a bad Hitchcock movie?), and I expect that other people might have a more favorable response to it than I did. I suspect this is just one of those times when a good film just doesn't completely "click", with me, for whatever reason. I recommend it to anyone who is interested, though. 


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