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The Man Who Knew Too Much (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1934)

Peter Lorre , Alfred Hitchcock  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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The Man Who Knew Too Much (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + The 39 Steps (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + The Lady Vanishes (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Lorre
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2013
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009RWRIP2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,975 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New audio commentary featuring film historian Philip Kemp
  • New interview with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro
  • The Illustrated Hitchcock, an extensive interview with director Alfred Hitchcock from 1972, conducted by journalist Pia Lindstrom and film historian William Everson
  • Audio excerpts from filmmaker François Truffaut’s legendary 1962 interviews with Hitchcock
  • Restoration demonstration
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme

  • Editorial Reviews

    An ordinary British couple vacationing in Switzerland suddenly find themselves embroiled in a case of international intrigue when their daughter is kidnapped by spies plotting a political assassination. This fleet and gripping early thriller from the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, was the first film the director made after signing to the Gaumont-British Picture Corporation. Besides affirming Hitchcock’s brilliance, it gave the brilliant Peter Lorre (M) his first English-speaking role, as a slithery villain. With its tension and gallows humor, it’s pure Hitchcock, and it set the tone for films like The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes.

    Customer Reviews

    4.6 out of 5 stars
    (29)
    4.6 out of 5 stars
    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    One of a series of Hitchcock classics made after the Master escaped making junk like "Waltzes from Vienna", "The Man Who Knew Too Much" was, according to Hitch himself the work of a "talented amateur". I would disagree with that assessment. While this version of "Man" may not have been made while Hitch was at the height of his powers as a director (the 1950's through, arguably, 1963), it shows the same attention to detail, brilliantly thought out and staged sequences that we would see in "The 39 Steps". After failed attempts to remake "The Lodger", Hitchcock finally got the chance to remake his own early work with the 1956 version starring James Stewart and Doris Day.

    Hitchcock dreamed up the scenerio for "Man" while on his honeymoon but pitched the idea to producer Michael Balcon as an attempt to adapt one of the Bulldog Drummond stories popular at the time.

    SPOILERS:

    While vacationing in Switzerland Bob (Leslie Banks), Jill (Edna Banks) and daughter Betty (Nova Pilbeam)befriend Louis Bernard (Pierre Fresnay). During dinner the diplomat is murdered but not before giving Jill that will her to learn of an assassination planned in London. To keep Jill and Bob quiet their daughter is kidnapped.

    END OF SPOILERS:

    Featuring Peter Lorre in his first English speaking role, "Man" demonstrates that Hitchcock had already begun to develop his skills as a director of taunt thrillers.

    In its own way, 1934 version of "Man" although less sophisticated and lighter in tone than the 1956 film, this more compact version of the same story displays wit and ingenuity.

    Working in collaboration with the British Film Institute, Criterion has done a marvelous job of transferring this nicely done restoration.
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    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent transfer of an underappreciated film February 11, 2013
    Verified Purchase
    Like most, I'm more familiar with the Jimmy Stewart-starring remake than the 1934 original. And by "more familiar with" I mean I didn't know the original existed until a few years ago. Smarter people than I can do a much better job comparing and contrasting the two versions. But I believe it stands up just fine on its own, even while I still prefer the latter version (though an included essay makes a strong argument for the original).

    First, though, the restoration. It looks incredible. The film could be average and the restoration job would be worth five stars alone. Similarly, the sound is as clean and crisp as you could want. Criterion has knocked it out of the park again.

    As to the film itself, it's immensely enjoyable. It lacks the nuance of the remake and the polish that Hitchcock developed as a director, but it's worth seeing for Peter Lorre's performance alone, his first in English. A performance he delivered, I might add, without knowing quite what he was saying, as he learned his lines phonetically on account of not actually speaking English at the time.

    At the end of the day, it's classic Hitchcock presented by Criterion. What's not to like?
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    8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    Verified Purchase
    I have loved this early Hitchcock film since I was a child. Thanks to home video we were able to view it in our homes instead of cruddy looking TV prints. The public domain versions on video didn't look much better, but we could watch it when we wanted to. Criterion started a trend back in the day with immaculate Laserdisc transfers (boy those were costly!) and then DVD and now blu ray. I am so thankful they have survived all these years so they could bring us great transfers like this one into the hi def age. Who would ever think a little film like this would get the respect and care that it has deserved after all these years. So many people know about the American remake Hitch did and know nothing about this great classic. Well its time for the newer generation to catch Hitchcock's earlier British films thanks to Criterion and these awesome restorations. The Lady Vanishes always will be the cleanest and detailed of their restorations, but The Man Who Knew Too Much comes close. I have never seen this old movie look and sound as good. We can finally follow what is going on in the final scene! Images aren't lost in the shadows. This is one striking picture when you come to realize its from 1934. There are still a few soft spots and blemishes, but they are far and few between. I am so amazed how good the video looks, that I haven't even went through the special features (will love to hear the commentary). The movie survives on its own and doesn't need all the bells and whistles that special editions have (it is nice to have them though).
    Criterion just keeps proving to me why they are my favorite when it comes to classic films on blu ray. Cannot thank you enough for releasing this great classic on home video (finally).
    Bravo!
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    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars LONG OVERDUE RESTORATION OF HITCHCOCK CLASSIC January 27, 2013
    By Casey62
    The original version of Alfred Hitchcock's THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (Gaumont-British, 1934), has often been overshadowed by the director's 1956 remake starring James Stewart and Doris Day. That version always struck me as an overlong movie built around its popular co-stars, whereas the original is all about the story, which gets told deftly in just 75 minutes. The pattern Hitchcock laid down in THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is revisited to varying degrees in films like THE 39 STEPS (Gaumont-British, 1935), THE LADY VANISHES (Gaumont-British, 1937), SABOTEUR (Universal, 1942), and NORTH BY NORTHWEST (MGM, 1959).

    A husband and wife (Leslie Banks, Edna Best), vacationing in St. Moritz, come in possession of knowledge regarding an assassination plot, and have their young daughter (Nova Pilbeam) kidnapped in order to force them to co-operate with the assassins. One big advantage the original version has over the remake is the presence of the fascinating Peter Lorre as the arch villain. This was Lorre's first English speaking role, and he gives a performance that's expertly nuanced with oily menace and perverse humor. Lorre's character goes a long way in giving the film its distinctively dark atmosphere. Of course, the suspense is developed intriguingly, climaxing in the well edited Albert Hall sequence. But it doesn't end there; we then get an exciting shootout between the police and the criminals which reaches it's height literally as one of the kidnappers corners the little girl on the edge of a roof, by which time we're at the edge of our seats in pure, Hitchcockian style.

    I'm a great admirerer of Hitchcock's British films, and it always frustrated me that THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH was only available in dupey, public domain copies on budget DVD sets.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect everything!!! No complaints!
    Perfect everything!!! No complaints!
    Published 2 months ago by Andrew Deyoung
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Great sevice!
    Published 3 months ago by bartleby
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Great Hitchcock movie that now looks great.
    Published 4 months ago by Michael Huvar
    5.0 out of 5 stars The man who knew to Much
    This movie was Peter Lorre's first English language film. His Character was very evil, but in a subtle way. Read more
    Published 6 months ago by Bwhami
    5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
    I bought the Blu-Ray version on a whim to see if there would be a difference in the image quality with a film going back that far, and comparing it to the standard DVD sitting on... Read more
    Published 6 months ago by wildbillcarey
    5.0 out of 5 stars Ford55
    Great Film with BluRay version like viewing the Film for the first time. ThisFilm is a collector item of Classic films that stands up to time.
    Published 7 months ago by John Ford
    4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the remake
    Terrific. The closing scenes are especially intriguing as a similar scenario actually occurred with Churchill on the scene. Peter Lorre. Nobody did it better.
    Published 7 months ago by Tom
    4.0 out of 5 stars An early gem of Hitchcock
    Years ago, I watched the Jimmy Stewart film of the same name, and I didn't realize that Hitchcock had remade HIS OWN movie. It is a really interesting concept. Read more
    Published 9 months ago by B. Adducchio
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Criterion - Hitchcock Masterpiece!
    The film looks outstanding on BluRay. The picture quality is beautiful. Excellent Criterion release - informative commentary and I love the Del Toro tribute to the film. Read more
    Published 14 months ago by rossa
    5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock!
    What more does one need to say. It is Hitchcock! Another great classic Brought to you in a very special version.
    Published 14 months ago by A. Gass
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