Retrospective 2016

The Man Who Knew too Much (1934)

Alfred Hitchcock
GBR 1934
75 min

A British couple vacationing in Switzerland suddenly find themselves embroiled in a case of international intrigue when their daughter is kidnapped. This fleet and gripping film is the first of Hitchcock’s early thrillers. Besides affirming his genius, it gave the brilliant Peter Lorre his first English-speaking role, as a slithery villain. “Nowadays, the 1956 remake is often judged the superior picture, largely for its darker tone and greater complexity, two qualities beloved by critics. The marriage is rockier and fraught with psychological conflict, the vacation setting more remote and dangerous, the boy’s peril and the mother’s dilemma more emphasized. There are some of us, who stubbornly prefer the original, for its mordant wit, its overcast snowscapes and London nighttimes, its economy of plot and barreling momentum. And not even Hitchcock can keep us from mourning when confronted with a new villain in place of Peter Lorre.” (Farran Smith Nehme)

  • Leslie Banks - Bob Lawrence
  • Edna Best - Jill Lawrence
  • Peter Lorre - Abbott
  • Frank Vosper - Ramon Levine
  • Hugh Wakefield - Clive
  • Nova Pilbeam - Betty Lawrence
  • Pierre Fresnay - Louis Bernard
  • Cicely Oates - Sister Agnes
  • A.R. Rawlinson
  • Edwin Greenwood based on a story by D.B. Wyndham Lewis
  • Charles Bennett
  • Curt Courant
  • Hugh Stewart
  • Arthur Benjamin
Gaumont British Picture Corporation
35 mm
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