The Man Who Knew Too Much is a classic Alfred Hitchcock spy movie. Actually, it is two different movies. Hitchcock released a version of this movie in 1934, starring Leslie Bands, Edna Best, and Peter Lorre. He decided to release a new version in 1956, this time starring Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day. His quote about the movies was that the “first version is the work of a talented amateur, and the second was made by a professional”. Yes, both movies were directed by Hitchcock.
The overarching story is the same in the two versions of this suspense thriller, although there are many differences in the details. A child is kidnapped to keep his father and successful mother quiet about an assassination the man has been warned about. There are numerous twists throughout the movie.
In the 1956 version, Hitchcock took the time to educate his protagonist, as well as his audience about some of the cultural aspects of Morocco. A British or American audience member was likely be as unfamiliar with some of these cultural aspects, just as Jimmy Stewart’s character Dr. Benjamin McKenna was.
It is interesting to watch both versions as most people will like parts of each movie vs. the other.
- Alfred Hitchcock
- Bernard Herrmann (1956)
- Arthur Benjamin (1934)
- Leslie Banks (1934)
- Edna Best (1934)
- Peter Lorre (1934)
- Jimmy Stewart (1956)
- Doris Day (1956)