53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
"Too Much" Is More Than Enough,
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This review is from: The Man Who Knew Too Much (Criterion Collection) (DVD)
The Criterion Collection has done it again! For several years now, they've been filling in the blank spaces in the collections of film lovers, and now it's a newly remastered version of Alfred Hitchcock's 1934 thriller, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. As one of Hitchcock's biggest fans, I'm here to tell you that there has never been a really good print of this early masterpiece available on DVD before, to say nothing of Blu-Ray. Now, thanks to Criterion, we have both!
This was Hitchcock's first version of the venerable spy story; he filmed it again in 1955 with James Stewart and Doris Day (The Man Who Knew Too Much). Fans argue about which is the better version, and the director himself preferred the later one, but I love them both equally. There's something truly charming about the earlier film, and it includes one great performance that doesn't have a correlative in the 1955 version.
The story is simple and straightforward: A British couple (lLeslie Banks and Edna Best) are on vacation in Switzerland with their young daughter (Nova Pilbeam) when the father accidentally learns a deadly secret from a dying man. A political VIP is about to be assassinated in London by a nasty ring of terrorists led by a vicious psychopath (Peter Lorre, giving the great performance I mentioned above). In order to keep the parents quiet about the plot, the villains kidnap the daughter, which leads to...well, see for yourself.
This was Peter Lorre's first performance in English, and he is truly memorable. Banks and Best are excellent, too, and the swift pace of the movie never lags. It's one of the Master's most enjoyable early works, paving the way for later gems like The 39 Steps and North By Northwest, and now Criterion has given us a reason to appreciate it even more. Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 28, 2012 10:48:34 AM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 11:03:36 PM PST
Paul J. Mular says:
I agree, Tom S. has spoiled the film with giving too much story information.
I can tell you that I have the Blu-ray in hand and the restoration is VERY GOOD. It still looks a little soft, but until the original camera negatives turn up (and the Nitrate camera films may have disintegrated), this is the best it can get! A Nitrate Fine Grain copy that is a direct copy of the original camera negatives was used for this Criterion release.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2013 5:54:21 PM PST
Wayne Klein says:
It's not likely that the original camera negatives will turn up for this film but stranger things have been known to happen.
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