The Man Who Knew Too Much (1935) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1935)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

While vacationing in Switzerland, Britons Leslie Banks and Edna Best befriend jovial Frenchman Pierre Fresnay. Not long afterward, Fresnay is murdered. He whispers a secret in Banks' ear before expiring. This is witnessed by several sinister foreign agents, who kidnap Banks' daughter to keep him from revealing what he knows.

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Cast

Leslie Banks
as Bob Lawrence
Edna Best
as Jill Lawrence
Frank Vosper
as Ramon Levine
Nova Pilbeam
as Betty Lawrence
Pierre Fresnay
as Louis Bernard
Cicely Oates
as Nurse Agnes
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Critic Reviews for The Man Who Knew Too Much

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (5)

The story is told in sharp, abbreviated sequences gathering speed steadily toward their explosive climax, makes The Man Who Knew Too Much one of the neatest melodramas of the year.

October 25, 2017 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Although the film is fast and consistently clever, it is more deeply flawed than any other Hitchcock film of the period, failing to find a thematic connection between its imaginative set pieces.

March 27, 2009 | Full Review…

An unusually fine dramatic story handled excellently from a production standpoint.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

Directed with a fascinating staccato violence by Alfred Hitchcock, it is the swiftest screen melodrama this column can recall.

August 8, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Vintage Hitchcock, with sheer wit and verve masking an implausible plot.

June 24, 2006
Top Critic

Despite the child kidnapping, assassination plot, and relatively high body count, this primarily plays like a comedy.

October 19, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Man Who Knew Too Much

Thoroughly English in DNA and execution, this early Hitchcock presents a unusual couple who find themselves embroiled into some kind of mysterious and insidious spy plot. Peter Lorre is our Germanic bad guy whose politeness comes and goes erratically and is truly menacing for that. The set-up for the action involved is as questionable as it comes, but the payoff, a gunfight in downtown London, is worth the price of admission alone. As well, this work, along with Jamaica Inn, cements my growing suspicion that Hitch's best was his earlier stuff.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

½

Hitchcock was still learning his craft and improving his directing skills when he made this unimpressive and thematically flawed film that even he disliked - and the humor eliminates most of the tension while the weak script has villains whose motivations are never really clear.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

This is basically the film that really saw Hitchcock's film career take off and become something grand. It has his real breakout hit, and even had the distinction of being remade (by Hitchh imself), in a version that a number of people say is far superior. I haven't seen that one yet, but I plan to. The plot concerns a man who, after learning of some dire news concerning an upcoming assassination, finds his daughter kidnapped by some people who witnessed him learning of their diabolical plot. The film then shifts to him trying ot rescue his daughter on his own as well as to stop the planned killing from taking pace. This is fast paced and familiar Hitch, but it all a lot of fun, and pretty well done. For what it's worth, it also features the English language debut of Peter Lorre, and he does quite a decent job here. All in all, this is a pretty decent way to spend 75 minutes, and there's a lot of good set pieces and moments that amp up the suspense and entertainment value. Give it a go.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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