The Man Who Knew Too Much
Starring – James Stewart (Dr. Benjamin McKenna), Doris Day (Josephine Conway McKenna), Brenda De Banzie (Lucy Drayton), Bernard Miles (Edward Drayton), Ralph Truman (Inspector Buchanan).
Released – June, 1956
Directed By – Alfred Hitchcock
Produced By – Paramount Pictures, Filwite Productions
Distributed By – Paramount Pictures
Description – Dr. Benjamin McKenna, his wife Jo, and their son Hank are on vacation in Morocco. While traveling from Casablanca to Marrakesh, by bus, they meet Frenchman Louis Bernard.
Bernard seems quite friendly, but Jo is a little uncomfortable with his many questions about them and his reluctance to answer questions about himself. She feels that he is hiding something. Bernard invites the family to dinner, but cancels after seeing a mysterious man who may be following him.
Later that evening, at dinner, the McKenna’s meet the Drayton’s who are from England. As they are speaking, they notice Bernard enter the restaurant, sit at another table, and ignore them. This behavior adds to Jo’s suspicions about him.
The next day the McKenna’s and the Drayton’s are shopping in a Marrakesh marketplace when they see a man in Arab clothing being chased. The man is stabbed in the back and staggers toward Dr. McKenna. It is Bernard in a disguise and, just before dying, he whispers to Ben that a foreign statesman will soon be murdered in London and the authorities must be told about “Ambrose Chappell.”
While being questioned by the authorities about the incident, Ben learns that Bernard was a French Intelligence Agent. At the police station during the interrogation Ben receives a phone call. Who would even know he was there and what could they possibly want?
The family’s dream vacation is about to turn into a nightmare.
The caller tells Ben that the McKenna’s son Hank has been taken and will not be harmed if they do not tell the police of Bernard’s last words. The McKenna’s travel to London and report all that they know, except Bernard’s last words, to Scotland Yard.
Inspector Buchanan tells them that Bernard was a spy and on an assignment to uncover an assassination plot. He instructs them to contact him as soon as they hear from the kidnappers.
The McKenna’s sense of urgency causes them to try and take matters into their own hands. They start with the only clue they have… Ambrose Chappell.
NOTABLE: The Man Who Knew Too Much won the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song (Que Sera, Sera).
This is a remake of Hitchcock’s 1934 film of the same name filmed in VistaVision and Technicolor. Generally considered superior to the original, Hitchcock himself preferred the 1934 version.
The Man Who Knew Too Much was unavailable for decades as director Alfred Hitchcock left the rights to the film, as part of his legacy, to his daughter. This picture along with Rear Window, Rope, The Trouble With Harry, and Vertigo were also part of the legacy and known as the “Five Lost Hitchcock’s.” They were re-released around 1984.
Initially, Doris Day had no interest in recording the song “Que, Sera, Sera” feeling that it was no more than “a forgettable children’s song.” Not only did the song win an Academy Award, but it also became her signature song and the biggest hit of her singing career.
Doris Day was a life-long advocate against animal abuse. It was during the filming of this picture, where she observed gross mistreatment of goats, camels, and other animals, that fueled her desire to help animals.
While in London to film her location scenes, Doris Day (who was extremely popular in England) was asked to leave her hotel because of the number of fans who gathered there in the hope of catching a glimpse of the star.