The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

DailyView: Day 251, Movie 351

The week of Alfred Hitchcock in the DailyView continued with the 1934 classic, The Man Who Knew Too Much. I had seen a movie with this title, directed by Hitchcock, featuring Jimmy Stewart. I had enjoyed that one quite a bit, so I did not think this would work. However, Jimmy Stewart was not listed on this film which was when I realized that the one I had seen was a remake from Hitchcock. The one I had seen was from 1956, but this one was from 1934.

I needed a film from 1934 for the DailyView so I decided to see how close this was to the Jimmy Stewart version.

The answer to that is not very close at all.

British couple Bob and Jill Lawrence (Leslie Banks and Edna Best) are in Switzerland with their daughter Betty (Nova Philbeam) vacationing. They meet a Frenchman named Louis Bernard (Pierre Fresney). Later that night, Louis and Jill are dancing and he is shot and died. Before he died, he told her about a note in his room. It was a note which warned about an international crime.

The man behind the shooting, Abbott (Peter Lorre), had Betty kidnapped and was using her to keep the Lawrences in check.

There are few similarities between the films. Both had a child kidnapping involved in the story (one a daughter, one a son), both had a scene at the Royal Albert Hall and both had dealing with an international incident. That is where it stops though.

This was a good version, but it was truly missing a star the level of Jimmy Stewart. The closest to his name was Peter Lorre, who was the antagonist in the story.

I definitely preferred the 1956 version, but I was happy to have seen the first film. It is fascinating to see how Hitchcock changed things from the first one. Plus, this is considered a classic and a huge success at the time.

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