This weeks film is Hitchcock’s 2nd attempt at making The Man Who Knew Too Much. I always found it a little odd that someone would want to remake their own movie and this had made me very excited to see how different his retry would be.

WHAT HAPPENED?

The storyline is essentially the same as the original, with the only major change being that Marrakech has replaced the French Alps, and the daughter from the original is now a son.

The story a married couple (James Stewart and Doris Day) along with their son on holiday in Morroco, when a suspicious man tells them about an assassination attempt (and subsequently dies) they find their child kidnapped and themselves blackmailed from all sides. In order to save their family they are forced into a chase across Europe leading to an extremely thrilling finale.

THE GOOD

After watching the first version and knowing it to come from the same director, this film is hard to judge on its own merit. Much of it remains the same, therefore in this post I’m going to focus on the differences and what is better, what is worse than the original. 

Firstly I enjoyed the exotic setting of Morroco much more than the cold alps. Morroco has a vastly different culture to the UK and America, which therefore meant that the characters became instantly more relatable as they where the only ones to which we had something in common.

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This version is also much more tense albeit a little slower (see below), with the tension mounting to some extreme levels especially in the climatic scene at the Albert Hall. This scene is perhaps the most famous from either version and is truly a wonderful example of filmmaking. There are 12 minutes without a word of dialogue as an orchestra plays and the characters move around; it build slowly into a climax which is hard to beat in terms of nerve-wrackingness.

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Doris Day is also very good in the role of a Grace Kelly look-a-like, with the use of song Que Sera Sera being a pleasant surprise as I did not realise it was from this film.

THE BAD

The major flaw of this film is its pacing, the original film is somewhat shorter at 75 minutes compared to the 2 hours for which this film drags on. Although some of this extra time is used well in order to establish the characters; the action is paced too far apart leading to large periods of boredom that are salvaged only by a great performance by James Stewart. 

The film also lacks the prescence of a villain; with Peter Lorre not being replaced; this is a shame as Lorre’s performance and character are one the memorable moments from the original.

CAMEO O’CLOCK

Hitchcock’s cameo is tiny and easily missable; he appears in a crowd at a marketplace and stands with his back to the camera.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

The US made version of the Man Who Knew Too Much is better than the original but still suffers from many of the same flaws. These are covered over by better production values and a much more competent cast however this film will never be considered the greatest of anything and is merely so-so.

4 Hitch’s.

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