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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

tomatometer

90

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 29
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 3

Remaking his own 1934 film, Hitchcock imbues The Man Who Knew Too Much with picturesque locales and international intrigue, and is helped by a brilliantly befuddled performance from James Stewart.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1

Remaking his own 1934 film, Hitchcock imbues The Man Who Knew Too Much with picturesque locales and international intrigue, and is helped by a brilliantly befuddled performance from James Stewart.

audience

81

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 32,897

My Rating

Movie Info

The debate still rages as to whether Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much is superior to his own original 1934 version. This two-hour remake (45 minutes longer than the first film) features more stars, a lusher budget, and the plaintive music of Bernard Herrmann (who appears on-camera, typecast as a symphony conductor). Though the locale of the opening scenes shifts from Switzerland to French Morocco in the newer version, the basic plot remains the same. American tourists

Mar 6, 2001

MCA Universal Home Video

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All Critics (30) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (3) | DVD (18)

The film is uncharacteristically rigid and pious for Hitchcock; it feels more like a work of duty than conviction.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (3)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While drawing the footage out a bit long, he still keeps suspense working at all times and gets strong performances from the two stars and other cast members.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Starting slowly amid colourful but rather superfluous travelogue-style Moroccan footage, the film improves no end as it progresses.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even in mammoth VistaVision, the old Hitchcock thriller-stuff has punch.

March 25, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a decent thriller that's ultimately saved by its stellar performances and absolutely enthralling last act.

March 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

This version lacks some of the economy of the first, and, unusually for Hitchcock, it sags in the middle. Fortunately, there's a marked improvement as it reaches the last third.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Hitch's remake of his own film results in an equally compelling action thriller with sterling performances from Stewart and Day.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Hitchcock's scenes are beautifully framed and tautly directed.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Far superior to the 1934 version, The Man Who Knew Too Much, underestimated at its 1956 release, should be considered as one of Hitchcock's masterpieces.

July 1, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Each version has certain elements superior to the other, but both films rank as minor Hitchcock works.

May 16, 2008 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

One of Hitch's best from his '50s period...and his only one with a hit song ("Que Sera").

July 28, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

Understated tension from the master of overstatement.

April 8, 2005
Movie Metropolis

Bloated remake of the superior original, but has its moments.

July 31, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It's hugely entertaining and exceptionally involving.

March 5, 2002 Full Review Source: MovieMartyr.com
MovieMartyr.com

has a number of great moments, but as a whole it never feels like a truly great film

April 3, 2001
Q Network Film Desk

The result is a typically memorable Hitchcock thriller, with great dialogue, building tension, and innocent people forced to get themselves out of trouble on their own.

March 22, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

A road trip with James Stewart and Doris Day traipsing from Morocco to London, it's two hours of red herrings and intense scenes, one of the least apologetic adventures he ever made.

March 7, 2001 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

The product of a master in his prime.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: culturevulture.net
culturevulture.net

Audience Reviews for The Man Who Knew Too Much

This is Alfred Hitchcock doing a remake of one of his own films from early on in his career, and it's an interesting choice. The original was a slick, fun little thriller in its own right, and it really helped set the standard for the bulk of his career from then on.

This time around though, the telling of the storyt is a lot more polished, more artistic, and 45 minutes longer. Both films are great, but this one is the stronger of the two, but by how much is really up for debate.

It's the usual Hitch story: family goes on vacation, meets interesting people, and they get caught up in situations they aren't prepared for, and are in way over their heads. To top it off, the family can't do much since their son has been kidnapped as a way of threatening them, so not only do they need to try to stop an assassination, they need to get their son back.

As I said, this version is a lot more slick and polished. The sets and costumes look great ,AStewart is solid as always, and it's really ncie seeing Doris Day do something dramatic. The film is a mixture of suspense thriller and comedy, and it sometiems works well, but on the other hand, it is fairly uneven at times, and it seems like the film can't make up its mind about which tone to stick with. Also, the film si pretty dated with the rather un PC way characters deal with race and culture, but hey, that's the 50s for you.

Nevertheless, this is an exciting film that never fails to hold one's attention, and there's some excellent sequences, most notable being the 14 minute or so sequence at Royal Albert Hall that is done with no dialogue, and relies soley on music and visuals to build tension and suspense. It's a real showstopper.

All in all, this is required viewing for fans of the genre, and especially fans of Hitch. The original should also be checked out, as it's a real joy as well.
April 11, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

One of my favorites from Hitchcock. Jimmy Stewart, as always, gives his all and the Vista Vision technology is used to it's fullest. Also, Doris Day puts in her best performance.
November 13, 2011
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

The Man Who Knew Too Much can't seem to decide whether to be a light-hearted comedy or a full-out thriller, but there are plenty of wonderful moments to be had along the way. Doris Day is good, and James Stewart is more hesitant and confused than ever as the bumbling doctor. It's worth checking out, even if it does overstay it's welcome.
September 11, 2011
Kyle F.
Kyle Fowler

Super Reviewer

Until I saw this film, I had never heard of a situation in which a director remakes their own film.
July 5, 2011
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

Movies Like The Man Who Knew Too Much

    1. Foreign Prime Minister: Delighted, delighted, delighted.
    – Submitted by Joo P (15 months ago)
    1. The Ambassador: You have muddled everything from the start, taking that child with you from Marrakesh. Don't you realize that Americans dislike having their children stolen?
    – Submitted by Sarfaraz A (20 months ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • Der Mann, der zuviel wute (DE)
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much (UK)
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