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Independent Exhibitors Film Bulletin (03/Apr/1935) - The Man Who Knew Too Much




With Leslie Banks, Peter Lorre, Nova Pilbeam, Edna Best
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
GB — 72 Minutes
Kidnapping Melodrama

Here's a thriller, a gripping, blood-curdling melodrama that matches anything the American screen has ever seen ! When the end title appears, one is left limp and panting for breath. The results of this new Gaumont-British import seems to indicate that the Hollywood producers have been vanquished on their own grounds. By comparison to the last scenes in this, the fierce gunplay of "Scarface" is mild. The tempo varies from the tenseness of slowly dripping drops of water to the staccato fire of a machine gun. So you can see that "The Man Who Knew Too Much" contains some of the most important elements which have brought word-wide popularity to American films. The cast, while not displaying any names of great power, will be one of the most talked about for many months. Every performance is flawless, and the ominous Peter Lorre, who chilled everyone who saw "M," again indicates that he is one of the screen's arch villains. The unusual plot follows: While vacationing in Switzerland, Leslie Banks is drawn into an international intrigue when he is entrusted with a message for the British police, which will prevent the assassination of a visiting foreign diplomat in London. Before he can deliver the message, his daughter is kidnapped and he is informed that she will be murdered if he reveals the secret message. Back in London, Banks, himself, is kidnapped by the murderous criminals but he learns that the assassination will be attempted at a symphony concert that very evening. He manages to send word of the plan to his wife, Edna Best. She attends the musical, knowing that on a certain note, the assassins will fire at the diplomat who sits in a box above her. This scene conveys as intense a dramatic sensation as you have ever experienced! However, the plot is foiled and the criminals are captured after a police battle that puts to shame many American movie attempts at this type of thing. If you wish to overcome the disadvantage of an unknown cast, post plenty of close-up stills of this man Lorre. He may frighten away a few small children, but others will be fascinated by his tenderly cruel face. Business on this will build as it plays down the line. It's a grand production.

Boxoffice Rating ★★★