3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Early touches from the master,
This review is from: The Man Who Knew Too Much [DVD] (DVD)
I started watching and was put off by the bad effects at the beginning, (close-ups of characters with superimposed backgrounds cutting to wide-angle stock footage of alpine scenery) but as the story unravels it gets better. It's ambitious in places- sometimes too much so.
The plot too is a bit dodgy- it starts off presumably at the Alpine Winter Olympics with the main characters' daughter (Nova Pilbeam) almost killing a French downhill skier by running in front of him whilst pursuing her errant dog- everyone laughs it off and lights up a smoke! Obviously crowd barriers weren't invented at the time?
The girl then proceeds to wander into a clay-pigeon shooting contest (is that in the Winter Olympics?) being held on the balcony of a hotel (?!) where she puts her mother (Edna Best) off her shot thus giving the contest to an obviously untrustworthy German.
The wife then goes off with her arm around the Frenchman- but it's all done with impeccable British panache and they all light up again and laugh.
But then things really kick off- the wife dances with the Frenchman and suddenly he's shot through the glass window before uttering some obscure warning (where have I seen that before?). Truly Hitchcockian.
The baddies were BADDIES in those days and easy to spot. Either Germanic or Eastern European. Peter Lorre is supreme and steals the show- a sympathetic suave character.
The little girl is then kidnapped to keep her parents quiet (it's all to do with an attempt on a foreign dignitary's life)- the topic of children being kidnapped is close to any parents heart- what would you do under the same circumstances?
The father (Leslie Banks) takes matters into his own hands and with the help of a bumbling side-kick 'Uncle' rescues her. It's quite touching really although as a dad he is be a bit hard on her at the end.
Along the way there's some comedy- after the comical 'Uncle' has his teeth unnecessarily extracted by a sinister dodgy dentist our hero tells him to "stay outside and keep your mouth shut".
Well, I didn't write it!
The plot often bypasses incidentals to get to the point - but it's always rivetting stuff.
The ending finishes with a bloodbath- the well armed insurrectionists against the good old unarmed British Bobbies (they couldh've done with the SAS in those days!). Thankfully they nip to the local army barracks for rifles and blitz the baddies.
There's a superb feminist ending- how many films even today finish like this?
Unfortunately on my copy the sound quality isn't tip top and there are no real extras.