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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 »
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

This movie finished production thirty-seven days behind schedule, including six shutdown days. Paramount Pictures internal memos show that the movie went well over its original budget, costing one million eight hundred thirty-four thousand dollars, exclusive of the stars' and Sir Alfred Hitchcock's salaries. See more »

Goofs

Prior to Dr. McKenna and Jo entering Ambrose Chapel, there is a white stain on Dr. McKenna's left shoulder, apparently from the struggle at the taxidermist. As soon as Dr. McKenna enters the chapel, the stain disappears, then reappears after they take their place in the chapel. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Dr. Ben McKenna: Sorry we were gone so long, but we had to pick up Hank!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The original film opened with the Paramount logo followed by their patented wide screen process, Vista Vision. In the 80's, Universal re-issued the film with their logo, and dropped the reference to Vista Vision. The Blu-Ray edition retains the Paramount/Vista Vision logos at the start, but carries the 80's Universal logo at the end. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Number Twenty-Two (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Storm Cloud Cantata
(1934)
by Arthur Benjamin and D.B. Wyndham-Lewis
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Bernard Herrmann
Orchestrated by Bernard Herrmann (uncredited)
Covent Garden Chorus and Barbara Howitt, soloist
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Great dramatic turn by Doris Day
4 February 2018 | by HotToastyRagSee all my reviews

It's well known that Alfred Hitchcock had a penchant for casting icy blondes as his leading ladies, but it's often forgotten Doris Day was once one of them. In The Man Who Knew Too Much, the pronunciation of which was forever immortalized by Robert Osbourne, she's married to James Stewart, another of Hitchcock's favorites. In a rare dramatic turn, Doris shows her hidden talents. There's a famous and heart-wrenching scene that's nearly impossible to watch without a tissue handy. Doris and Jimmy's son has been kidnapped, and Doris is having a meltdown. James injects her with a sedative because he's a doctor and believes that's the best way to help her, and she hysterically cries until she passes out.

While Doris usually gets all the acting praise from this movie, it's probably because everyone expects James Stewart to be great in a Hitchcock film. But let's not forget he was the other actor in that difficult scene, watching and deciding how to help his wife. He's wonderful in this movie, but if you know and love him like the rest of the country, it's not really a surprise.

The Man Who Knew Too Much isn't the most famous Alfred Hitchcock movie out there, but it's absolutely worth watching. It has Doris's quintessential song "Que Sera Sera" and she also credits it with spawning her lifelong devotion to animals. Plus, it's pretty suspenseful, a necessity in a Hitchcock movie. There are exotic locations, good-looking leading actors, murder, and intrigue. What else do you want?


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