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The Man Who Knew Too Much [DVD] 
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Dr Ben McKenna (James Stewart) is on holiday in Morocco with his wife, former singer Jo (Doris Day), and son Hank when he meets friendly but mysterious Frenchman Louis Bernard (Daniel Gelin). The McKennas are also befriended by the Draytons, an English couple who take them to the local bazaar. There Ben is confronted by an Arab who, after being shot in the back, whispers a dying message to him. It transpires that the Arab is in fact a disguised Bernard, and that he has entrusted Hank with the identity of a British politician who is due to be assassinated. After being questioned by the police Ben and Jo return to their hotel, only to discover that the Draytons have checked out and taken Hank with them in order to ensure Ben's silence.
Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 remake of his own 1934 spy thriller is an exciting event in its own right, with several justifiably famous sequences. James Stewart and Doris Day play American tourists who discover more than they wanted to know about an assassination plot. When their son is kidnapped to keep them quiet, they are caught between concern for him and the terrible secret they hold. When asked about the difference between this version of the story and the one he made 22 years earlier, Hitchcock always said the first was the work of a talented amateur while the second was the act of a seasoned professional. Indeed, several extraordinary moments in this update represent consummate filmmaking, particularly a relentlessly exciting Albert Hall scene, with a blaring symphony, an assassin's gun, and Doris Day's scream. Along with Hitchcock's other films from the mid-1950s to 1960 (including Vertigo, Rear Window, and Psycho), The Man Who Knew Too Much is the work of a master in his prime. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
For me, this film sits within Hitch’s 'second tier’, overall quality-wise. It’s quite a long film for the master at two hours (though, I guess, in keeping with the trend of many of his later films), takes quite a long time to get going (though the film’s opening, fascinating African cultural setting does mitigate this, to an extent) and the use of the film to showcase Day singing Que Sera, Sera (or 'Kiss her what?’ as Norman Stanley Fletcher would say), twice(!) is overkill, plus Day, though solid, does not have the screen presence of a Kelly, Novak, Saint, Leigh, Hedren, Bergman, etc. That said, the film does have notable pluses. Stewart is, as ever, impressive, seamlessly and convincingly mixing the comically gawky with the increasing moments of fatherly desperation.Read more ›
I was a bit afraid that this wouldn't stand up to my memories, but it was as fun, even as moving, as I remembered it. James Stewart is an irascible surgeon - intelligent, controlling, and competent, perhaps over-confident. Doris Day, with her Que Sera song, is a rather hysterical housewife, who when confronted with the situation gets sedated, faints, and then steels herself to the task of finding her abducted son. They have real chemistry on the screen, even their fights exude an affection and respect for the other. I think they are one of the best couples in any Hitchcock film. Their fear and desperation are completely believable as they decide to avoid the authorities and attempt to solve the mystery and face the dangers on their own. OK, the kid is basically a kid, but he is cute.
Seeing it now, there were a few loose ends that I had hoped would be filled and weren't, including the political motivations of the conspirators. These are minor quibbles, however: this is a film of Hitch at the height of his powers, a masterpiece of craftsmanship that should be in the library of every collector.
Thankfully this was the only one of Hitchcock's early masterpieces that he remade. Perhaps realising that he couldn't do them justice. Though I won't give anything away to those who havn't seen it, I will say that the damp squib ending sums up this really lifeless remake. Don't bother and get the original on Blu Ray instead.
The casting is superb for a start - Hitchcock regular Jimmy Stewart is just the right choice for the unlikely hero whilst Doris Day (who may seem like an odd choice to some) is just delightful as Stewart's wife. Doris Day, in my view, steals the movie.
The storyline itself is deep and exciting - never lets up for a moment. The locations make the movie rich and colourful - ranging from Morrocco to London. The camerwork is superb - resulting in some truly suspenseful scenes and beautifully shot moments. Oddly, my favourite scene is the Moroccan restaurant scene where Stewart almost has to wrestle his dinner off the table! Delightful stuff.
OK - to the storyline then: husband and wife (Stewart - a doctor, and Day - a retired stage musical actress) go on holiday to Morocco with their son Hank. Whilst there, they are befriended by a mysterious Frenchman who is rather nosy about their identities. The next day, the Frenchman (disguised as a Moroccon) stumbles through a crowded markeplace and collapses into Stewart's arms - whispering something before he dies of a stab wound.
What he whispered is deadly news - so deadly it results in the couple's son being kidnapped and held to ransom. The ransom? That the couple DO NOT REVEAL TO ANYONE what was whispered by the dying Frenchman, or Hank will die.
The chase moves to London and to Stewart and Day hunting down the kidnappers and going all out to foil the kidnapper's ultimate plan.
Exciting, endearing and entertaining throughout. This is a classic to grace your DVD collection for life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great DVD. Will watch it more than once as I am a fan of DVDs. Also a fan of Doris DayPublished 3 months ago by Rosie
Love this movie, an avid jimmy Stuart fan so may be biest a little bit lol 😂 but seriously 😒 Stuart and Doris Day put in a fine performance, forgive me 🙄 I don't no kids name in... Read morePublished 6 months ago by mike
Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 remake of his own 1934 film sees the basic premise of the plot retained but enough differences to make both films stand on their own. Read morePublished 6 months ago by D J F
I've just watched this film on DVD.
I am, generally speaking, a Hitchcock fan.
However, not having seen this film before, I am disappointed. Read more