The Man Who Knew Too Much

Screening on Film
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
With James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie.
US, 1956, 35mm, color, 119 min.
Print source: Universal

Far fewer shots are fired in the remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much, but there’s nothing nearly so harrowing in the earlier version as the scene in which James Stewart’s manifestly anxious husband sedates his wife before explaining that their son has been kidnapped. A prime example of Hitchcock’s tendency to invest his ostensibly lightweight entertainments with rich characterizations and location detail, the second Man Who Knew Too Much turns on a portrait of marriage every bit as devastating as the one found in Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy (1955). The famous Royal Albert Hall sequence is an object lesson of the director’s mastery of point-of-view, though it’s only one piece of this subtly structured puzzle of character and predestination that a euphoric André Bazin claimed as embodying Hitchcock’s art “near the top of its perfection.” 

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The Complete Alfred Hitchcock

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