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The Man Who Knew Too Much By Alfred Hitchcock

1013 words - 5 pages

In this 1956 remake of the 1934 version of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dr. Ben McKenna, played by James Stewart, and Josephine ‘Jo’ Conway, played by Doris Day, inadvertently get involved in an assassination plan after a mysterious Frenchman is murdered and their son is subsequently kidnapped. Hitchcock himself said, “Let’s say the first version was the work of a talented amateur and the second was made by a professional,” (Spoto) to which I interpret as him admitting that his skills and cinematic techniques as a director had improved throughout his career.
This film does have cinematic techniques that are typical of Hitchcock, although not all are necessarily done in ...view middle of the document...

After they get the call about their son’s kidnapping, Jo and Ben go to London based on what Bernard told Ben, “A man, a statesman, he is to be killed, assassinated, in London. Soon, very soon. Tell them in London to try Ambrose Chappell.” Ben and Jo look up Ambrose Chappell in the directory, and upon finding a man with that name and calling, Ben goes to see him, thinking he has Hank, but finds out after a scuffle at the man’s place of business that it is not a person, but rather a place Bernard was talking about. So, having Ben think that Ambrose Chappell is a person and accusing him of kidnapping Hank is a typical wrong man scenario.
The technique of suspense is used in many ways during this film. One of the first big suspenseful scenes is in the Marrakech marketplace, where the police are chasing two Arabs, and in one of the alleyways the Arabs run down, on of them stabs the other in the back with a knife, the weapon of choice for Hitchcock. The Arab that was stabbed in the back walks out of the alley, clearly unstable, and goes over to Ben, confesses who he is and tells Ben the message about an assassination. Another, more suspenseful moment is when Jo and Ben are in London, and go to Albert Hall looking for Inspector Buchanan. Upon arriving at Albert Hall, Jo sees the assassin, and watches both him and the Ambassador from the back of the aisle in the concert hall. Ben sees Jo through the glass doors that lead from the lobby to the concert hall, and after Jo tells him what she sees, Ben runs up to where the Ambassador is watching, only to be stopped by the guards outside his suite. As the music builds up to the cymbals crash, the point at which...

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