The Man Who Knew Too Much

The man who knew too much (1956) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Cast: James StewartDoris DayBrenda de Banzie, Bernard Miles, Daniel Gélin

I have to confess, I have a very big soft spot for this one, but I’m also aware that it’s the film that for some reasons gets shunned by some critics (bunch of weirdos in my view!) when compared to the likes of Rear Windows or Vertigo. Well, that’s an unfair comparison. Just because Rear Window is a film beyond perfect, doesn’t mean that this one isn’t a cut above most of the thrillers out there (both from the time and from today). I never have problem with the pacing of this film (like some people suggest) or the various red herrings, in fact I think it’s the slow build up and the clues dropped throughout that really make it all work so well.There are so many memorable moments in this film (most t of which have been copied over and over since 1956 when it was first release), but obviously the sequence that always gets pointed out is the one at the Albert Hall: twelve minutes (124 shots, for the nerds out there) without a single word of dialogue which lift up the tension to unbearable levels. Hitchcock once again uses every trick in the book to heighten the tension not just at the end, but throughout the film: whether it’s through the sound of echoing footsteps as James Stewart walks along the pavement on a goose chase to see a taxidermist or whether it’s through tight close-ups his fingers flipping through the pages of a directory, to show how tense he is, who through quick tracking shots to the face of the killer to be, to make him even more terrifying and suspicious than he already is and the high angle zooming down at the couple as they talk to their kidnapped son. I loved the murder of the man in Morocco, the scene in the church as Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart sing along with the choir while actually moving in on the priest who they believe guilty of the kidnapping, the moment James Stewart tells her their so has been taken, but also the comical bits, the fight at the taxidermist, the guests left waiting for hours, the (slightly racist today, but who cares?) dinner scene… and I could go on for hours. And of course once again James Stewart, the most likeable man on earth and Doris Day here not just singing the ever-famous “Que sera sera” but actually acting her socks off. I was 12 when I first watched this film and I have not stopped loving since, so yes, 5 stars for this too! Not at the level of Rear Window, but hardly anything is, but way better than most films out there.

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