4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The young Hitchcock is peeping out of the egg,
This review is from: Man Who Knew Too Much [DVD] (DVD)
It's probably not a great film, but it is an early creation by Hitchcock and we can already see some of his art coming out. The action has a rhythm that does not accept any slack moment. Every gesture, word or attitude of all actors are absolutely calculated to be meaningful. No waste of time, no waste of film. The story is meaningless in itself, but it was meaningful in 1934. The danger of a new war was coming and it took some courage to say so as soon as 1934, as soon as Hitler appeared. The role of Switzerland is here shown with clarity. It is a neutral country, hence a country where spies of all sorts can meet and settle their accounts. What's more, Hitchcock had a sense of humor. There are a couple of funny scenes at the beginning of the film that are quite simple and effective, but Hitchcock is already a master because it is when he makes us laugh at something that the plot thickens and the action jumps into gear. Humor is there to distract us and to make us be more surprised by the dramatic turn of events. There is also a certain distanciation between Hitchcock and the British. The scene where the poor father is trying to commuinicate with a German-speaking young Swiss cop, in English or in French, not understanding that it is German he needs is absolutely ironical. How can you pretend to be the masters of the world if you can't even communicate with people in the proper language ? And how can you keep the world safe if you can't even have some security in The Albert Hall where an assassin can enter, kill or try to kill and disappear ? And how can an assassin miss his target because one woman in the audience yells a warning ? Are assassins that emotional and influenceable ? The world is no longer what it used to be. But to apply this kind of humor in 1934 at the war danger that Hitler represented is quite amazing : it sure is a warning about what we could lose if we were not cautious, prudent, careful and vigilant : we could lose the possibility to just laugh at things, a greater loss than anything we could imagine.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU