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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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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:

Alfred Hitchcock strikes the highest note of suspense the screen has yet achieved! 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

Doris Day was so popular with the British that when she arrived at her London hotel for location shooting, mobs of fans had gotten word that she would be staying there, and had gathered. Pandemonium erupted when they saw her, and she needed a police escort to get in. Fans continued to surround the hotel, camping out, shouting her name, asking for autographs and hoping for a chance to see her. The hotel management finally had to ask her to leave. See more »

Goofs

Ben climbs up the bell rope and out the top of the bell tower to escape the chapel. A bell in such a small tower could not possibly be heavy enough to counterbalance Ben's body weight. Therefore, Ben would pull the bell to its limit whilst climbing, and the bell would not ring repeatedly as he climbs the rope. When Ben pulls the rope taut so that he can rappel down the roof, the bell rings twice more. See more »

Quotes

Edward Drayton: Remember, you will only have time for just one shot. If you need another, the risk is yours.
Rien: I don't take risks.
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 Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Rebel Set (1992) 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

Under-rated suspense masterwork.
16 January 2001 | by Glenn AndreievSee all my reviews

When you start watching the 1956 version of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, you'll think it's a minor work by Alfred Hitchcock. The countless scenes showing a lovely, but buffoonish vacationing American couple (James Stewart, Doris Day) seem to lead nowhere. But, hold on, about thirty minutes into the film, during a very dreamlike murder sequence (which takes place in bright sunlight, and involves blue paint) the film really takes off. Personally, I find the opening "character development" sequence between protagonists James Stewart and Doris Day very charming. It sets you up for the second and third acts of the film. You get to like this couple so much, you are raelly rooting for them as they try to rescue their kidnapped son amidst a plot to assassinate a visiting diplomat. Of course, the high-point of the film is the assassination itself, a twelve minute wordless sequence. Hitchcock beautifully brings us back to silent film! The ending, which involves a rescue at an embassy, is wonderfully silly and tense. For those not familiar with Hitchcock, this is Hitchcock's own remake of a film he made under the same title in 1934 in England. This is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. It's proof that this master loved his audience and wanted to keep them thrilled!


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