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The Man Who Knew Too Much [DVD] [1956]

4.2 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie, Bernard Miles, Ralph Truman
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Angus MacPhail, Charles Bennett, D.B. Wyndham-Lewis, John Michael Hayes
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock, Herbert Coleman
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Arabic, English, French
  • Subtitles: English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish
  • Dubbed: German
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Oct. 2005
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005EAXC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,448 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

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.

From Amazon.co.uk

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart what else can you ask for. Excellent film from the master of suspense.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Wonderful classic, a real +leasure to go through the movie once again. Excellent seller.
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Format: DVD
Being a film-maker with a penchant for spectacular set-pieces in iconic locations, I did wonder to what extent the thought of revisiting the famous London concert hall was (as it were) a temptation too far for Alfred Hitchcock, giving rise to this 1956 Hollywood remake of his 1934 British film. The use of the word ‘remake’ is, perhaps, overly liberal here, as the 1956 version makes significant changes to the earlier film’s plot, switching British tourists on holiday in Switzerland to Americans in Morocco, prior to their child’s (the daughter becoming a son) kidnapping as part of an intricate (nay, typically fanciful!) assassination plot, before returning (in both films) to London to home in on South Kensington’s spectacular denouement. We also get 'starrier’ billing for the remake, Hitch-regular James Stewart playing the agonising father and doctor, Benjamin McKenna, and Doris Day taking on the role of the wife and erstwhile professional singer, Jo.

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.
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Format: DVD
This is one of my favorite films from childhood: a family - not exactly normal because Doris Day is an internationally famous singer - on vacation get embroiled in a caper that is unusual and complex. It starts in Morocco, where they meet a friendly if circumspect Frenchman, who wheedles his way into their room for a drink. Thus starts an outlandish adventure that is completely believable while you are watching it, leading them back into Europe and into international intrigue.

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.
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Format: Blu-ray
This remake of Hitchcock's original version certainly doesn't improve upon the early British classic. Obviously made for American audience's this rehash includes the stereotypical all-american family, complete with annoying son ('gee willickers Mr') do-good wife (played by a wrong-casted Doris Day) and Hitchcock veteran and 'everyman' Jimmy Stewart. Worse still we also don't have the endearing baddie so excellently portrayed by Peter Lorre in the original. A role that should be the centrepiece is played by someone who is very forgettable. Doris Day's role, again played wonderfully by Edna Best in the original, lacks anything memerable. Brenda De Banzie is the only stand out for me in this film.

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.
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Format: DVD
This is my favourite Hitchcock movie - for many reasons really.
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.
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