The Man Who Knew Too Much

Movie Information

In Brief: The Asheville Film Society's first monthly ticketed film, 1934's The Man Who Knew Too Much, is the movie that gained Alfred Hitchcock the attention of the international film world — attention that would increase with The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938), the films that took him to America. It is also a film that Hitchcock remade in the U.S. in 1956. (Hitchcock later referred to the original as "the work of a talented amateur" and viewed the remake as "professional" — further proof that artists are not always the best judges of their own work.) This one lacks Technicolor, big (U.S.) stars and a glossy veneer. It also lacks 45 minutes of movie star bloat and that damned song. The original The Man Who Knew Too Much is a taut suspense-thriller with a certain comic flair and far more style than the remake. The stories, however, are roughly the same. Here, a British couple (Leslie Banks and Edna Best) are passed a clue by a dying man — a clue to an upcoming assassination. To keep them silent, their daughter (Nova Pilbeam) has been kidnapped. It moves like lightning and provides compelling, exciting, sometimes quirky entertainment. Plus, it's Peter Lorre's English-language film debut.
Genre: Mystery Suspense Thriller
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre, Frank Vosper, Hugh Wakefield
Rated: NR

The Asheville Film Society will screen The Man Who Knew Too Much Tuesday, June 28, at 7:30 p.m. at Grail Moviehouse, hosted by Xpress movie critic Ken Hanke. Ticketed event: $6 members, $8 general admission

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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