- article: Grand Illusion: The "Storm Cloud" Music in Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much"
- author(s): James Wierzbicki
- journal: The Journal of Film Music (2003)
- issue: volume 1, issue 2-3, pages 217-238
- journal ISSN: 1087-7142
- publisher: The International Film Music Society, USA
- keywords: "Hitch: The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock" - by John Russell Taylor, "Hitchcock: Suspense, Humour and Tone" - by Susan Smith, "Que Sera, Sera" - by Doris Day, "The Art of Alfred Hitchcock" - by Donald Spoto, "The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock" - by Donald Spoto, "The Hitchcock Murders" - by Peter Conrad, "The Silent Scream: Alfred Hitchcock's Sound Track" - by Elisabeth Weis, "Writing with Hitchcock" - by Steven DeRosa, Alfred Hitchcock, American cinema, Arthur Benjamin, Bernard Herrmann, British Film Institute, British cinema, Bulldog Drummond, Cantatas, Charles Bennett, Cinema Journal (1982) - Herrmann, Hitchcock, and the Music of the Irrational, Climax, Composers, Compositional structure, Criticism, David Neumeyer, Donald Spoto, Doris Day, Edna Best, Edwin Greenwood, Elisabeth Weis, Emlyn Williams, Film (International), Film (Music), Film (Productions), Film Music, Film directors, Film scores, Films, François Truffaut, G.K. Chesterton, Gaumont British Picture Corporation Limited, Herbert Coleman, Hollywood Films, James Stewart, Jane E. Sloan, Jay Livingston, John Michael Hayes, John Russell Taylor, Leslie Banks, Louis Levy, Margaret Herrick Library, Maurice Yacowar, Motifs, Muir Mathieson, Murray Pomerance, Music and Other Literary/Performing/Visual Arts, New York City, New York, Orchestration, Paramount Pictures, Peter Conrad, Peter Lorre, Popular Music, Psycho (1960), Ray Evans, Rear Window (1954), Remakes, Robert A. Harris, Robin Wood, Rope (1948), Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, Royal S. Brown, Scotland Yard, Sidney Bernstein, Steven C. Smith, Steven DeRosa, Susan Smith, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Trouble with Harry (1955), Theory/Analysis/Composition, Thrillers, Transatlantic Pictures, Versions, Vertigo (1958)
A musical composition utilized in two cinematic versions of "The Man Who Knew Too Much," both directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is analyzed and critiqued in detail. The "Storm Cloud Cantata," composed by Arthur Benjamin, is a key element in each film's climactic episode, which occurs during a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall where a murder is planned to take place. Wierzbicki argues that the cantata used in Hitchcock's original "The Man Who Knew Too Much," released in 1934, is superior to the longer version included in the 1956 remake. The cantata as composed by Benjamin in 1934, although lasting a mere four minutes and twelve seconds, seems to be a much longer and suspenseful piece due to its musical complexity and its effective placement within the Royal Albert Hall scene, while the 1956 version, although longer at nine minutes and seven seconds, suffers from repeated musical motifs and thus lacks the same impact. Bernard Herrmann orchestrated the 1956 cantata, which is based on Benjamin's composition but differs from it in several important ways.