The Man Who Knew Too Much

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 33


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,669
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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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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 (33) | 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.

    Oct 25, 2017 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    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.

    Mar 27, 2009 | Full Review…
  • An unusually fine dramatic story handled excellently from a production standpoint.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

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

    Aug 8, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Vintage Hitchcock, with sheer wit and verve masking an implausible plot.

    Jun 24, 2006

    Tom Milne

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • One of Hitchcock's most unfairly overlooked accomplishments - a hidden gem in one of the cinema's most legendary careers.

    Aug 6, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Man Who Knew Too Much

  • Jul 07, 2018
    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. W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2016
    In Hitchcock's 'British' version of the film made two decades before the one with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day, it's the villains who are really well cast, with Peter Lorre and Cicely Oates turning in deliciously creepy performances. And there are some really nice touches here - the scene in the dentist's chair (who doesn't squirm at least a little seeing that setting, with those tools), a shot of Oates through bleary, hypnotized eyes, and of course the scene in the Royal Albert Hall, where suspense builds with an imminent assassination. It's nice that the film is to the point at 75 minutes, but it's a little awkward in the first part of the film, there are some odd plot points, and the shootout at the end is tediously long (it's telling that Hitchcock would omit that in the 1956 version). It's worth watching but certainly not a classic.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 16, 2014
    Boy how Peter Lorre creep the shit out of me with his face
    Cita W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 13, 2012
    An early Hitchcock that has a good story, but too many cliches.
    Dillon L Super Reviewer

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