The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

The Man Who Knew Too Much Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The Man Who Knew Too Much Movie Review

The Man Who Knew Too Much is a 1934 thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Leslie Banks and Peter Lorre. It is a solid and highly memorable, but still very flawed picture.

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Tell her they may soon be leaving us.

Leaving us for a long, long journey. How is it that Shakespeare says?

“From which no traveler returns.”

Great poet

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The Man Who Knew Too Much Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

This movie is incredibly flawed. I always found it to be a lost potential as all of the ingredients are there, but the execution is weaker than expected. It is so obvious that Hitchcock was still finding his voice as his earlier films are mostly just solid (with the exception of ‘The Lodger‘ which is very good). Here it is obvious from the first scenes that the talent is there, but again it’s also obvious that the experience is still not there.

The plot itself is solid, if not great. The main reason why it bothered me is that it is highly implausible and at times even silly. But it was still pretty suspenseful in certain scenes and at times hugely memorable and just unforgettable. I will talk about the great scenes later, but I have to touch upon the tone now. Yes, the tone is the reason why the whole movie was a mixed experience to me. It is just too jarring as sometimes it was serious and suspenseful, but in other scenes light, comedic and even silly. That bothered me and I really did not like its playful nature at all.

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The Man Who Knew Too Much Movie Review

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Bob is great and I liked how strong a female character Jill is. But of course Abbott is the highlight as this memorable, even creepy presence and he is mostly a good, satisfying villain. Leslie Banks gave such a good performance and Peter Lorre is delightfully menacing as always.

The Man Who Knew Too Much is a technically polished feature with exceptional cinematography, good acting, solid direction and some really memorable imagery and sets. The dialogue is also pretty good as are the sound effects which are great for the time. The pacing is also solid and it moves at a brisk space and it has economic running time.

But that tone is problematic and some scenes are highly improbable to happen. The thing that also bothered me is the action as those fight sequences looked silly at times and also too playful again and even too comedic, but in an unpleasant way as the film should have been serious given the serious plot it has. And also some of the supporting performances were quite weak and even mediocre.

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The Man Who Knew Too Much Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Let’s talk about the highlights. The most memorable and best sequence in The Man Who Knew Too Much is easily the dentist one. Wow, so good. So thrilling, so entertaining and just so iconic. That scene alone is the representative example of Hitchcock’s prowess as a director. That ending I also really liked, mostly for the fact that the woman intervened and saved the day. That was quite progressive. I also liked the Swiss setting at the beginning as well as the church one later on. That sequence was so inventive and just brilliant. But the standout is the concert stuff as the inclusion of music in its storytelling is amazing and the loud music covering the bullet shot is just ingenious. For all those inventive and memorable scenes, the movie is worth seeing, but it’s a shame that all of the other stuff isn’t as great.

The Man Who Knew Too Much is solidly suspenseful, well made and it has a bunch of memorable and really inventive sequences with the dentist one being the standout, the church scene being so inventive and the concert one being amazing and wonderfully incorporating music in its tension, but it’s a shame that the tone is so weird as the movie is too comedic and silly at times, the plot can also become implausible and some supporting performances aren’t great. This movie showcases Hitchcock’s obvious talent, but it also showcases his lack of experience at the time resulting in the movie that is at times exceptional, but mostly just solid.

My Rating – 3.5

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Posted in 1930s, 1934, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , .

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