The Man Who Knew Too Much

Paramount Released 1956




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Lots of people have tried remaking classic Alfred Hitchcock movies, but the only really good film in the bunch is the one Hitch directed himself, the 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much. Expanding and altering his 1934 movie - which was about 45 minutes shorter - Hitch introduces us to an American family holidaying in Marrakesh, the McKennas. Dad is a doctor, Mom used to be a rather popular singing star, and there's a young son, Hank. When they meet a charming Frenchman, Dad doesn't think there's anything unusual about the fellow, but when he's stabbed to death whilst elaborately disguised as an Arab, the McKennas find out that he was an agent of the Deuxieme Bureau and on the trail of assassins. A murder is going to happen in England, and before the doctor can tell anyone what the dying spy whispered to him with his dying breath, Hank is kidnapped. And then it's mystery, intrigue and suspense all the way to the thrilling climax in a London embassy.



Metacritic Score

  • 88

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    Hitchcock's glossier and more complex remake of his classic 1934 spy thriller, with James Stewart and Doris Day as the average American couple caught in a whirlwind of intrigue and...

  • 80

    The Hollywood Reporter

    It's a tumultuous and lavish windup with a dramatic wallop.

  • 75

    Chicago Sun-Times

    Though the original is superior, this glossy entertainment is far more popular with audiences. [25 Dec 1998, p.13]

James Stewart

James Stewart

Dr. Benjamin McKenna

Doris Day

Doris Day

Josephine Conway McKenna

Brenda de Banzie

Brenda de Banzie

Lucy Drayton

Bernard Miles

Bernard Miles

Edward Drayton

Daniel Gelin

Daniel Gelin

Louis Bernard

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • This was the fourth consecutive Hitchcock film to be scripted by John Michael Hayes, and also the last. The two men quarrelled when Hitchcock tried to split the writing credit, so that his old friend Angus McPhail would share billing with Hayes. Although McPhail had done a considerable amount of work on the film in the early days of preparation, Hayes insisted he had contributed little to the final draft of the script and did not deserve credit. The Writers' Guild backed him up. Hitchcock was anxious to help McPhail, whose career had fallen on bad times due to alcoholism, and was angry at this decision. McPhail did get a writing credit on Hitchcock's next film, The Wrong Man.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (2)

    • The music played in the Albert Hall sequence, the Storm Clouds Cantata, was not composed for this film by Bernard Herrmann, although he is seen conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in the piece. It was actually composed by Arthur Benjamin for the 1934 film of the same title (also directed by Alfred Hitchcock) and Herrmann liked it so much, he kept it for this remake.

    • This was the only remake in Alfred Hitchcock's long directing career. His 1934 film of the same title, which ran only 75 minutes, starred Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre and the teenager Nova Pilbeam. The earlier film was little-known in the United States, although it had been a big hit in Europe.


More Info About This Movie


Drama, Suspense


Classics, Espionage