Saturday, October 4, 2014

1956 - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, the Hitchcock remake of his 1934 film.

Hitchcock remakes one of the British thrillers that made his reputation in the 1930's and doesn't do a very good job on it.  The film is long and the suspense sequences are unusually flat.  All the old tricks are present with Hitchcock building suspense with camera angles and cutting but they don't seem to come off this time.  The famous Albert Hall assassination scene is probably the best part of the film but everything else doesn't work.

The casting of the film is pretty good with the exception of James Stewart as the blustering American father.  Stewart stumbles on an assassination plot and has to find and save his son from the team of assassins who have kidnapped the kid to keep Stewart from going to the police.  Stewart really piles on the "as shucks I'm just an average guy from the states" stuff.  He also blunders and blusters around searching for the assassins when it is clear he should have went to the police for help.  By the 1950's Stewart had a tendency to parody himself in his performances if he wasn't careful.

The female lead is Doris Day who isn't bad.  However she has the worst scene singing her popular hit "Que Sera Sera" over and over as a signal to her son.  This song make the climatic rescue scene seem rather ridiculous.  Considering the large budget Hitchcock was working with it seems that he could have been a little more inventive with this scene.

Hard to know what went wrong with this film.  Hitchcock had wanted to remake The Man Who Knew Too Much off and on throughout his career.  When he finally got around to doing it he didn't seem to really care about reinventing the film.  This is a very long and boring film.

120 minutes.

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