Monday, March 10, 2014

Movie of the Week – The Man Who Knew Too Much

This week’s movie: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934).

While attending a winter event in Switzerland, a British couple, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence, are alerted to an imminent assassination attempt on an important European leader. But they find themselves powerless, as the spies behind the assassination plot have kidnapped their daughter, promising her safety only if they stay quiet. What will they do?

The Man Who Knew Too Much is one of auteur Alfred Hitchcock’s best early British films (his other really good British films include The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes). Hitchcock worked with writer Charles Bennett, who specialized in mystery thrillers and the-wrong-man stories, as well as composer Arthur Benjamin, cinematographer Curt Courant, and production designer Alfred Junge (who also did fantastic work for the Archers in the 1940s).

Hitchcock remade this film in 1956 in the midst of his best run in Hollywood, and it is probably a grander version, but the 1934 film is much more experimental and aesthetically interesting. The film was one of the early sound films and it is clear watching it that Hitchcock is literally creating the film-language for telling a suspense narrative in the new age of sound. In some ways, the film even films avant garde. And, there is a brilliantly fantastic chair fight scene that is utter madness. This is a must-see for fans of Hitchcock and those interested in seeing a good early sound film.

Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Video On-Demand

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