The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Pssst, want to check out The Man Who Knew Too Much in our new look?
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This odd thriller sits uncomfortably next to the great Hitchcock thrillers of two years previous and two years after (Rear Window and Vertigo respectively), given it shares a lot with both- lovely camera work, Jimmy Stewart in the lead, and another fantastic Bernard Hermann score- perhaps one of the best. It's a shame the plot is so weak by comparison, or that we have to watch Doris Day singing all of "Que Sera Sera" twice. The Albert Hall sequence is famous, but oddly pedestrian... we wait, like the gunman, for the moment to arrive and thoughts begin to creep in...
Why do we care about this rotund foreign prime minister? How in earth is the gunman going to accurately hit his target from that distance with a tiny handgun? There must be easier ways to assassinate someone than with 5000 potential witnesses. A cymbal crash won't actually be louder than a bullet will it? Is Doris just going to stand there crying for the entire sequence?
After that it all gets sillier, the finale baffingly prosaic followed by a misjudged coda. For all that there's a lot to enjoy- Hitch is still in full control but the material seriously lets him down
Fails to capture the magic of other Hitchcock films (excluding his four giant masterpieces) For eg: The 39 Steps does a much better job at its story than this does of it. However, Stewart's performance is fantastic and the usual level of Hitchcock suspense, though not fully built, is enough to make this a decent but somewhat forgettable film even if the song isn't!
After watching half a dozen Hitchcock films you get the kind of flavor that he had as a director. This particular film by him comes off as just... flat footed is the best word I can come up with. The dialog isn't quite up to par and the Stewart/Day coupling doesn't have any pop to it. Nothing even close to the relationships that Hitchcock masterfully crafted in say Rear Window or even Vertigo for that matter. Not a terrible movie but it gets a bad rep because Hitchcock has set the bar unbelievably high.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!