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The Man Who Knew Too Much [1934]

Director:Alfred Hitchcock
Writer:Charles Bennett
D.B. Wyndham-Lewis
Composer:Arthur Benjamin
Length:76 minutes
(1 hour 16 minutes)
Sorting Category:Thriller
IMDB Rating:6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:86%
Amazon Rating:4.0/5 stars
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  • Drama
  • Mystery
  • Action
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Synopsis: A man and his wife receive a clue to an imminent assassination attempt, only to learn that their daughter has been kidnapped to keep them quiet.

Reaction: Great show. I may prefer the '56 Jimmy Stewart film, but this one is still good.

Personal Rating: 7/10

Alfred Hitchcock => Director
Charles Bennett => Writer
D.B. Wyndham-Lewis => Writer
Arthur Benjamin => Composer
Cicely Oates => Nurse Agnes
Clare Greet => Mrs. Brockett (uncredited)
D.A. Clarke-Smith => Police Inspector Binstead (as D.A.Clarke Smith)
Edna Best => Jill Lawrence
Frank Vosper => Ramon
George Curzon => Gibson
Henry Oscar => George Barber - Dentist (uncredited)
Hugh Wakefield => Clive
Jack Vyvian => Baker - Policeman Shot at Front Door (uncredited)
Leslie Banks => Bob Lawrence
Nova Pilbeam => Betty Lawrence
Peter Lorre => Abbott
Pierre Fresnay => Louis Bernard

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • The siege at the end of the film showing the police in a gun battle is based on the real life Sidney Street siege which took place on 3 January 1911 in London.
  • The film's producer, [?] C.M. Woolf, hated the film and only allowed it to be released as the bottom half of a double bill. Nevertheless, it won rave reviews.
  • Peter Lorre's first English language film.
  • The title of this film comes from the name of a book written by [?] G.K. Chesterton.
  • The crucial cantata for the [?] Albert Hall sequence was composed specifically for the film by Arthur Benjamin, and the same piece was used again in the 1956 remake. When Alfred Hitchcock remade the movie, he offered composer Bernard Herrmann the opportunity to compose a new work for the scene, but Herrmann chose not to, citing an appreciation of Benjamin's original cantata.
  • The logo for Gaumont British Pictures is located on a scarf worn by Leslie Banks during the opening scene.
  • The dentist scene in this film was originally intended to take place in a barber shop. However, Alfred Hitchcock saw the film I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, in which there is a scene exactly like it, so he changed it to a dentist's office. The film was originally intended to be another film in the Bulldog Drummond series entitled Bulldog Drummond's Baby. However, Alfred Hitchcock and writer Charles Bennett did not get the rights to use the Drummond name.
  • When Peter Lorre arrived in Great Britain, his first meeting with a British director was with Alfred Hitchcock. By smiling and laughing as Hitchcock talked, the director was unaware that Lorre had a limited command of the English language. Hitchcock cast him in The Man Who Knew Too Much. Lorre learned much of his part phonetically.
  • Apart from the opening and end credits, there is only source music in this film, i.e. music that can be heard by the characters, such as dance music in Switzerland and Wapping, and the Benjamin cantata (with the rest of the concert on the radio). There is no underscoring music at all.