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The Man Who Knew Too Much Movie Review

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The 1956 re-make of The Man Who Knew Too Much is big and expensive and it has “Que Sera, Sera,” but the little kid in it drives me nuts, and I hate it when Jimmy Stewart gives Doris Day a sedative before he tells her about the kidnapping and she doesn't even return his volley with a left hook—she just goes into hysterics. Everything I detest about the 1950s is tossed into that one: bad clothes, bad dialogue, and bad manners. But the 1934 version is an altogether different story. Nova Pilbeam is a genuinely appealing kid and we do worry about her welfare in the hands of a slime like Peter Lorre. And Leslie Banks and Edna Best are a witty and sophisticated couple with individual interests and a lightly bantering style well suited to their free and easy marriage. We don't want anything to hurt their family and we're with them all the way as they draw on their own ingenious resources to save their daughter. The sheer speed of the narrative makes this sparkling ORIGINAL Hitchcock classic the one to look for on the video shelf. Bigger isn't always better and the story doesn't need another 45 minutes of singing and yakking, anyway.

1934 75m/B GB Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre, Nova Pilbeam, Pierre Fresnay, Frank Vosper, Hugh Wakefield, Cicely Oates, D. A. Clarke-Smith, George Curzon, Henry Oscar, Wilfrid Hyde-White; D: Alfred Hitchcock; W: Emlyn Williams, Charles Bennett, A.H. Rawlinson, Edwin Greenwood, D. B. Wyndham-Lewis; C: Curt Courant. VHS, DVD

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