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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 ... 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

Rarely for a Sir Alfred Hitchcock movie, two characters among Jo McKenna's U.K. theatrical friends greeting her at the hotel, are the real-life theater patron and manager Val Parnell and his wife Helen. See more »

Goofs

After Dr. McKenna tells his wife Jo about Hank being missing, she begins to fall asleep and the shadow of the boom mic falls on the wall behind Dr. McKenna's head. 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 »

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 Raytrospektiva (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Whatever Will Be
(1956)
by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Performed by Doris Day (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Que Sera Sera
23 May 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The original The Man Who Knew Too Much brought Alfred Hitchcock acclaim for the first time outside of the United Kingdom. Of course part of the reason for the acclaim was that folks marveled how Hitchcock on such a skimpy budget as compared to lavish Hollywood products was able to provide so much on the screen. The original film was shot inside a studio.

For whatever reason he chose this of all his films to remake, Hitchcock now with an international reputation and a big Hollywood studio behind him (Paramount)decided to see what The Man Who Knew Too Much would be like with a lavish budget. This is shot on location in Marrakesh and London and has two big international names for box office. This was James Stewart's third of four Hitchcock films and his only teaming with Doris Day and her only Hitchcock film.

I do wonder why Hitchcock never used Doris again. At first glance she would fit the profile of blond leading ladies that Hitchcock favored. Possibly because her wholesome screen image was at odds with the sophistication Hitchcock also wanted in his blondes.

Doris does some of her best acting ever in The Man Who Knew Too Much. Her best scene is when her doctor husband James Stewart gives her a sedative before telling her their son has been kidnapped by an English couple who befriended them in Morocco. Stewart and Day play off each other beautifully in that scene. But Doris especially as she registers about four different emotions at once.

Day and Stewart are on vacation with their son Christopher Olsen in Morocco and they make the acquaintance of Frenchman Daniel Gelin and the aforementioned English couple, Bernard Miles and Brenda DaBanzie. Gelin is stabbed in the back at a market place in Marrakesh and whispers some dying words to Stewart about an assassination to take place in Albert Hall in London. Their child is snatched in order to insure their silence.

For the only time I can think of a hit song came out of a Hitchcock film. Doris in fact plays a noted singer who retired from the stage to be wife and mother. The song was Que Sera Sera and I remember it well at the age of 9. You couldn't go anywhere without hearing it in 1956, it even competed with the fast rising Elvis Presley that year. Que Sera Sera won the Academy Award for Best Song beating out such titles as True Love from High Society and the title song from Around the World in 80 Days. It became Doris Day's theme song for the rest of her life and still is should she ever want to come back.

In fact the song is worked quite nicely into the plot as Doris sings it at an embassy party at the climax.

Instead of doing it with mirrors, Hitchcock shot the assassination scene at the real Albert Hall and like another reviewer said it's not directed, it's choreographed. You'll be hanging on your seats during that moment.

This was remake well worth doing.


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