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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

James Stewart , Doris Day , Alfred Hitchcock  |  PG |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (248 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Stewart, Doris Day, Daniel Gelin, Brenda de Banzie, Bernard Miles
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: John Michael Hayes
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: March 6, 2001
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (248 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000055Z4M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,476 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Man Who Knew Too Much" on IMDb

Special Features

  • The Making of The Man Who Knew Too Much
  • Production Photographs
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Recommendations

  • Editorial Reviews

    James Stewart and Doris Day, in a rare dramatic role, are superb in this brilliant suspense thriller from the undisputed master. Stewart and Day play Ben and Jo MacKenna, innocent Americans vacationing in Morocco with their son, Hank. After a French spy dies in Ben's arms in the Marrakech market, the couple discovers their son has been kidnapped and taken to England. Not knowing who they can trust, the MacKennas are caught up in a nightmare of international espionage, assassinations and terror. Soon, all of their lives hang in the balance as they draw closer to the truth and a chilling climactic moment in London's famous Royal Albert Hall.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    109 of 114 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars HITCHCOCK'S "MAN" A "MASTER"PIECE October 30, 2000
    Format:VHS Tape
    The "Master of Suspense", Alfred Hitchcock, hits another bullseye with his 1956 production of "The Man Who Knew Too Much". Purists have been known to complain that they prefer Hitchcock's original 1934 version of the story to the lavish, widescreen, color version starring James Stewart and Doris Day, but if viewed side by side, both films stand on their own as classic Hitchcock.
    The 1956 "Man" unfolds like a beautiful book, methodically, deliberately, and compellingly. Stewart plays an American doctor and Day is his wife, a retired singer. They are vacationing with their young son, Hank, in Morocco, when they become embroiled in an International incident involving a planned assasination. Their son is kidnapped and taken to London. Day and Stewart follow, where they attempt to get some answers and to locate their son, on their own, without the help offered by Scotland Yard. The film reaches it's exciting climax during a concert at Albert Hall in which Day suddenly realizes what is about to occur.
    Without giving away some of the intricate plot twists and turns, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" is like a breathtaking ride on a state of the art rollercoaster. You cannot help but get caught up in the plight of Stewart and Day.
    James Stewart and Doris Day seem like a real married couple, so easy and comfortable is their onscreen chemistry. They banter and interact convincingly but there is also a strong indication that there may be some tensions lurking beneath the outer veneer. Both actors play their roles with expertise and Day, in particular, shows range and versatility in her performance, being especially memorable in the justly celebrated Albert Hall scene and in an earlier scene when Stewart informs her that their son has been kidnapped.
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    23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
    This remake of Hitchcock's unremarkable 1934 version is substantially better. As he said in his own words, "Let's say the first version is the work of a talented amateur and the second was made by a professional."

    Naturally there are some events that may be commonplace in the mid 1950's that you would never do today with your child. Specifically, hand him off to a stranger you had just met. In this version the child is a boy of about 9, where the original featured a girl of about 13. I guess it doesn't matter, but I wonder why that character was changed.

    This movie also features Doris Day in a rare dramatic role, although she plays a former professional singer and does get to exercise her voice in the movie. At least a plot point supports her doing so. The climatic scene at Albert Hall is retained very close to the original and is equally well done. The film is a good one, although it doesn't reach the heights of "Rear Window," "Psycho," "North by Northwest," "The 39 Steps," and other Hitchcock classics.

    The Blu ray version is currently available as part of the "Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection" and will be available individually in the near future. The film is transferred with a 1080p resolution and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Frankly, the quality isn't quite as good as other films in the collection. My biggest issue is with the color. It looks washed out much of the time and I noticed some damaged sections of film. It doesn't appear much correction of the original print was attempted. Don't get me wrong, the movie is an improvement over the DVD, especially some of the detail but it could have been better. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (over 2 channels) and is very good. It is clean and focused. Included are Spanish and English SDH subtitles.
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    35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT DAY! January 11, 2000
    Format:VHS Tape
    Alfred Hitchcock's second version of one of his favorite stories is one of the best, most dramatic suspense films of all. It stars James Stewart and Doris Day as an American couple vacationing in Morocco whose young son is kidnapped to insure their silence when they discover an assassination plot. Moving his film from Africa to England, Hitchcock dazzles American eyes with beautiful and exotic locales while employing his trademark policy of allowing the viewers to know more than the characters know in order to keep suspense at its height. Boy, does that work! I have seen the film more than a dozen times and still can't stay off the edge of the seat. One of the greatest casting coups in Hitchcock history has Doris Day playing the anguished mother and wife of the man who knew too much, and although the story's title names the man, it is the wife's story all the way. She is the emotional center of the story; it is her intuitions, her suspicions, her deductions that propel the narrative, and Doris Day plays the part to a fare-thee-well offering a performance which sizzles through a gamut of emotions from the lighthearted fun of dueting with her little boy (to the by now standard, "Whatever Will Be Will Be") to the anguish of having to decide to try to stop the assassination even though it may cost her son's life. Day never makes a false move; her hysteria on learning of her son's kidnapping is a masterpiece of acting control and her anguish during the concert in the Albert Hall where the assassination is to take place is palpable to the viewer even though it is communicated only visually. This film is perfect Hitchcock and an extraordinary revelation of Doris Day to those who know her only as a comedienne. I might add that when Queen Elizabeth knighted Sir Alfred, he chose the Albert Hall sequence from this film to be the capstone of the film excerpts presented at the ceremony.
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    Topic From this Discussion
    Why are there other actors listed for this film?
    Hello. Amazon does that all the time. Don't pay any attention to it. James Stewart and Doris Day are in this film, and I might add that they have very effective roles.
    Oct 29, 2008 by Henry-Clyde |  See all 2 posts
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