Jump to: navigation, search

Harrison's Reports (1956) - The Man Who Knew Too Much




"The Man Who Knew Too Much" with James Stewart and Doris Day

(Paramount, June; time, 120 min.)

In keeping with his reputation, Alfred Hitchcock has fashioned a highly exciting and entertaining suspense thriller in "The Man Who Knew Too Much," which has been photographed in VistaVision and Technicolor. One is held in tense suspense throughout because of the danger faced by a 7-year-old American boy, who had been kidnapped in French Morocco by international plotters so as to prevent his vacationing parents from revealing to the authorities information they had inadvertently obtained concerning the pending assassination of a diplomat in London. Thanks to Hitchcock's masterful direction and to the expert acting of James Stewart and Doris Day, as the anguished parents, the taut, suspense-laden plot grips the audience from start to finish and they will find themselves experiencing the horror and emotional strain suffered by the distraught parents who are forced to keep silent for the sake of their child, and the overwhelming feeling of relief when they succeed in rescuing the boy. The manner in which they prevent the assassination and save the boy will keep the spectator on the edge of his seat. Most of the action has been shot against authentic French Morocco and London backgrounds, adding a striking touch of realism to the proceedings:—

While vacationing in French Morocco with Doris and with Chris Olsen, their little son, Stewart, an American doctor, innocently becomes involved with international plotters who become friendly with him. One morning, in the market place, he witnesses the murder of one of his new-found friends who, before dying, reveals to Stewart that he is a secret French agent and informs him of an assassination plot that is going to take place in London. Before Stewart can talk to the authorities, he receives a message from the plotters telling him that his son had been kidnapped by them and that the child would be killed if he (Stewart) divulged the information he had. Stewart and Doris naturally keep silent for the sake of the child and they depart immediately for London in the hope that they can locate and rescue him. Upon their arrival in London, they are met by a Scotland Yard inspector who tells them that he knows of the kidnapping and offers to aid them, but they refuse his assistance lest they endanger their boy. From the meager information given Stewart by the dying agent, he and Doris eventually trace the boy to a mission, where the kidnappers knock Stewart unconscious and then remove the boy to the Embassy of a foreign country, whose Prime Minster was to be assassinated that night at London's famed Albert Hall in a plot engineered by his own people. Through a series of odd circumstances, Doris goes to Albert Hall to locate the Inspector who had offered to aid her and, noting one of the plotters pointing a gun at the Prime Minster, spoils his aim with a timely scream just as Stewart arrives on the scene. Stewart, having learned that the boy had been taken to the Embassy, cleverly induces the grateful Prime Minister to invite him and Doris to a reception that night at the Embassy, where he manages to rescue the child before any harm can come to him.

It was produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, from a screenplay by John Michael Hayes and Angus MacPhail, based on a story by Charles Bennett and D.B. Wyndham-Lewis.