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Harrison's Reports (1935) - The Man Who Knew Too Much




"The Man Who Knew Too Much"

(G-B. Prod. (British), Rel. not yet set; time, 73½ min.)

An exciting melodrama. Some of the situations are thrilling. One is held in tense suspense throughout because of the danger to Nova Pilbeam, the young daughter of Leslie Banks and Edna Best, who had been kidnapped by a group, of international plotters so as to prevent her father from giving information to the police against them. One feels deep sympathy for the parents who are forced to keep silent for the sake of their child. A situation that will bring tears to the eyes is that in which the kidnappers permit Banks to see his daughter for just a moment. The child's tears and the father's joy at seeing each other are heart-rending. The closing scenes are the most exciting—the police surround the kidnappers' hideout and attempt to shoot their way in. To add to the excitement, Nova, the child, attempting to escape, is followed to the roof by one of the kidnappers. The one drawback as far as American audiences are concerned is the thick English accents of all the players.

In the development of the plot Banks, following the wishes of his dying friend, who had been shot by some plotters, goes to his friend's room and there finds a slip of paper giving information to the effect that the life of an important diplomat was endangered. Just as Banks is ready to turn this information over to the British Consul he receives a note from the criminals telling him that his child had been kidnapped and that if he divulged the information they would kill her. He naturally refuses to talk to the representatives of the Consul and, accompanied by a friend, he sets out to find his child. From directions contained on the slip of paper he had found in his friend's room, Banks finally locates the whereabouts of his child. But the plotters, who had recognized him, imprison him. His friend escapes and notifies the police who surround the house, finally killing all the plotters. The child is saved.

The story is by Charles Bennett and D.B. Wyndham Lewis. The screen play is by Edwin Greenwood and A.R. Rawlinson. Alfred Hitchcock directed it well. In the cast are Peter Lorre, Frank Vosper, Hugh Wakefield, Pierre Fresnay, and others.

Not for children, adolescents, or Sundays. The kidnapping incident naturally makes it an unpleasant entertainment for parents.

Suitability, Class B.