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The Man Who Knew Too Much
Original film poster Directed by Alfred Hitchcock Produced by Uncredited:
Alfred Hitchcock Written by Story:
Charles Bennett
D.B. Wyndham-Lewis
Screenplay:
John Michael Hayes Starring James Stewart
Doris Day
Brenda De Banzie
Bernard Miles
Alan Mowbray
Hillary Brooke
Christopher Olsen Music by Score:
Bernard Herrmann
Arthur Benjamin
Songs:
Ray Evans
Jay Livingston Cinematography Robert Burks Editing by George Tomasini Distributed by Paramount Pictures Release date(s) June 1, 1956 Running time 120 minutes Country United States Language English Budget US$ 1,200,000

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) is a suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart and Doris Day. The film is a remake in widescreen VistaVision and Technicolor of Hitchcock's 1934 film of the same name.

In the book-length interview Hitchcock/Truffaut (1967), Hitchcock told fellow filmmaker François Truffaut that he considered his 1956 remake to be superior, saying that the 1934 version was the work of a talented amateur, the 1956 version the work of a professional.

The film won an Academy Award for Best Song for "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," sung by Doris Day at several points in the action. It was also entered into the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

Plot

An American family, Dr. Ben McKenna (James Stewart), his wife Jo (Doris Day) and their son Hank (Christopher Olsen) are on vacation, traveling in Morocco. They befriend a fellow traveler, the mysterious Louis Bernard (Daniel Gelin), on a bus. Bernard is friendly enough, but Mrs. McKenna becomes suspicious and thinks he is hiding something. Bernard offers to take the McKennas out to dinner that night, but suddenly cancels when a sinister-looking man arrives at the door of the McKenna's hotel room. Later, the couple meets another vacationing couple, the Draytons (Bernard Miles and Brenda De Banzie), at dinner in a local restaurant. Louis Bernard also comes to the restaurant, but sits at a separate table from the McKennas and the Draytons.

The next day, while exploring a busy outdoor marketplace in Marrakesh, the McKennas see a man being chased by police officers. Shortly afterward, the same man approaches them after being stabbed in the back by an assassin. Ben discovers that the man is wearing brown makeup and is really Louis Bernard. Before dying, Bernard whispers into Ben's ear a terrible secret: that someone's life is in danger. After the murder, The Draytons offer to return Hank to the hotel while Dr. and Mrs. McKenna are questioned by the authorities. The interrogator reveals that Louis Bernard was a spy. At the police station, Ben receives a telephone call from a mysterious man who informs him that Hank has been kidnapped and threatens to harm him unless the McKennas say nothing to the police about Bernard's last words.

After following a number of false leads, Ben tracks the kidnappers to a church, where Mr. Drayton is posing as the minister. Ben learns that the Draytons are involved in a plot to assassinate a European head of state during a symphony orchestra concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

Ben and Jo separately track the killer to the concert, where he is to shoot the dignitary at the exact moment of time when the orchestra's music features a loud and climactic cymbal crash. At the moment of truth, Jo screams. The sudden unexpected sound causes the assassin to misfire. Ben chases the assassin, who falls to his death from a balcony.

The couple then follow the kidnappers to the ambassador's residence in London, where they are welcomed as heroes for saving the head of state's life. Mrs. Drayton, unable to be complicit in the plan to kill Hank, helps the boy find his father. Mr. Drayton tries to escape with the two as hostages, but is struck by Ben and falls down the stairs to his death when the gun he is holding fires accidentally. It is never explained what ultimately happens to Mrs. Drayton, but she does witness her husband's death.

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review by . March 02, 2012
Put plugs in your ears when Day sings out
I like Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) the same way I like To Catch a Thief. Both are big, fat, slick and satisfying entertainments made by a professional at the top of his game, with To Catch a Thief a better movie. While To Catch a Thief packs in naughtiness and more charm, neither leave any questions afterwards except “Where do we want to stop for a bite before going home?”       One weakness (which also is a strength) is Doris Day. When …
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