The Man Who Knew Too Much

( 1 )

Overview

The first film version of The Man Who Knew too Much proved to be the international "breakthrough" film for British director Alfred Hitchcock, transforming him from merely a talented domestic filmmaker to a worldwide household name. While vacationing in Switzerland, Britons Leslie Banks and Edna Best befriend jovial Frenchman Pierre Fresnay. Not long afterward, Fresnay is murdered. He whispers a secret in Banks' ear before expiring. This is witnessed by several sinister foreign agents, who kidnap Banks' daughter ...
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Blu-ray (B&W / Pan & Scan)
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Overview

The first film version of The Man Who Knew too Much proved to be the international "breakthrough" film for British director Alfred Hitchcock, transforming him from merely a talented domestic filmmaker to a worldwide household name. While vacationing in Switzerland, Britons Leslie Banks and Edna Best befriend jovial Frenchman Pierre Fresnay. Not long afterward, Fresnay is murdered. He whispers a secret in Banks' ear before expiring. This is witnessed by several sinister foreign agents, who kidnap Banks' daughter Nova Pilbeam to keep him from revealing what he knows: That a diplomat will be assassinated during a concert at London's Albert Hall. Unable to turn to the police, Banks desperately attempts to rescue his child himself, still hoping to prevent the assassination. The film's now-famous setpieces include the "Siege of Sidney Street" re-creation and the climactic clash of cymbals at Albert Hall, followed by the crucial scream of Edna Best. German film star Peter Lorre made his English-speaking debut in The Man Who Knew Too Much, though he was still monolingual in 1934 and had to learn his lines phonetically. Written by A. R. Rawlinson, Charles Bennett, D.B. Wyndham Lewis, Emlyn Williams and Edwin Greenwood an impressive lineup for a 75-minute film!, Man Who Knew Too Much was remade by Hitchcock himself in 1956.
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Special Features

New Audio Commentary featuring Film Historian Philip Kemp; New Interview with Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro; The Illustrated Hitchcock, an extensive interview with Director Alfred Hitchcock from 1972, conducted by journalist Pia Lindstrom and Film Historian William K. Everson; Audio excerpts from Filmmaker Fran├žois Truffaut's legendary 1962 interviews with Hitchcock; Restoration Demonstration; ; Plus: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Though Alfred Hitchcock would remake the movie himself in 1956 with a bigger budget, the original 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much is arguably a more historically significant and aesthetically interesting film. It was Hitchcock's first true international hit. Though he wouldn't have a major success in America until The Lady Vanishes, Man and the subsequent The 39 Steps helped establish the director's distinctive style and lay the groundwork for his popularity. Along with Hitchcock's trademark blend of suspense and humor and blurring of the normal and abnormal, the film also features his characteristically grand showpieces, most memorably the recreation of the true-life "Sidney Street Siege" and the famous Albert Hall scene. The film was also significant as German actor Peter Lorre's first English-language part. Having fled Nazi Germany in 1933, Lorre had to learn his lines phonetically, but he steals the film as the cruel but melancholic bad guy, and his difficulties with English barely show. The actor would go on to give memorable turns in such notable Hollywood productions as Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/15/2013
  • UPC: 715515100410
  • Original Release: 1934
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: A
  • Presentation: B&W / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:15:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 19,294

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Leslie Banks Bob Lawrence
Edna Best Jill Lawrence
Peter Lorre Abbott
Frank Vosper Ramon Levine
Hugh Wakefield Clive
Nova Pilbeam Betty Lawrence
Pierre Fresnay Louis Bernard
George Curzon Gibson
Cicely Oates Nurse Agnes
D.A. Clarke-Smith Insp. Binstead
Celia Lovsky
Henry Oscar Dentist
Guillermo del Toro Interviewee
Technical Credits
Alfred Hitchcock Director
Michael Balcon Producer
Arthur Benjamin Score Composer
Charles Bennett Screenwriter
Curt Courant Cinematographer
Edwin Greenwood Screenwriter
Alfred Junge Art Director, Set Decoration/Design
Louis Levy Musical Direction/Supervision
Peter Proud Art Director, Set Decoration/Design
A.R. Rawlinson Screenwriter
Hugh Stewart Editor
Emlyn Williams Screenwriter
D.B. Wyndham-Lewis Screenwriter
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 30, 2014

    The British films of Alfred Hitchcock have always been his best.

    The British films of Alfred Hitchcock have always been his best. And films like The Man Who Knew Too Much from 1934 (not to be mistaken for Hitchcock's remake from the '50s) stands proudly with such titles like The Lady Vanishes and 39 Steps. I have loved the original Man Who Knew Too Much all these years. Seeing it so many times from crummy public domain prints, Criterion has given this classic from 1934 a new life! This version is digitally restored and looks fantastic for a film I thought was beyond repair for a good copy to be released to home video. This disc is not up to the beauty of The Lady Vanishes, but comes close. I film us fans thought was long gone out of existence has been rescued by our friends at Criterion. I look forward to adding Hitchcock's early work to my video library and show my friends where the genius got his beginnings. The original Man Who Knew hold up much better than the slicker remake Hitch would make some twenty years later. If you want the suspense that early Hitchcock films give us, then do not hesitate to include The Man Who Knew along with The Lady Vanishes and 39 Steps. These all are great blu rays and the detail on all these discs are beyond what any other studio could produce except for Criterion. They respect the classic films and it shows in these early works by the one and only Alfred Hitchcock.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews