Continuing with my pledge to watch more classic cinema and more Hitchcock films I watched the 1956 remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much (see my full list of challenges here). This marks my 7th Hitchcock film in total. Here is what I thought about it:
Features: An incredibly weird and out of place scene in a taxidermist’s, the song Que Sera Sera, Jimmy Stewart being Jimmy Stewart, some cultural insensitivity in Morocco and a really tense scene in the Royal Albert Hall.
Plot Summary: The McKenna family are on holiday in Morocco when they unexpectedly become involved in an assassination plot.
Thoughts: This wasn’t actually a film I knew too much about before watching. I had heard of it and knew it starred Jimmy Stewart, but it doesn’t have the same amazing reputation of some of the other Hitchcock films out there. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by this film! I found it really enjoyable, and where others have found the first half hour to be somewhat slow, I thought it built up the tension really well as I knew something was about to go wrong but wasn’t sure of what.
I was actually pretty surprised when I looked up other reviews of the film on the likes of IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, once I had watched it, as people seemed to be slating it. I have to admit, I haven’t seen the original Hitchcock version from 1934, so I don’t feel outraged at the changes as some people seem to be. But even so, in my opinion, as a stand-alone film, if you haven’t seen the original/aren’t fiercely loyal to the original, this is a fun watch. Granted, not the best film I have ever seen, but not bad either. Probably a 7/10 I would say.
I know I mentioned it above but there is one scene I have to quickly point out. A scene in a taxidermy shop that had absolutely no relation to the rest of the plot! Jimmy Stewart walks in, gets in an argument and then has a fight with someone, crashing in to stuffed animals as he does so. I found it absolutely hilarious to look back on when the film finished and I realised it really did have no bearing on the rest of the plot.
Cameo: Hitchcock’s cameo here can be seen while the family watch some street performers in the market place. He has his back to the screen on the left side of the crowd and stands with his hands in his pockets. This is at about 25 minutes in if you’re looking to spot it. There he is on the left of this image!
Note: I had no idea that “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” by Doris Day was from this film until I watched it and looked it up afterwards. It actually won the Academy Award for Best Song in 1957. You learn something new every day – I think that’s a good bit of trivia!
I will continue to watch and review Hitchcock’s films when I watch them! The next Hitchcock film I review will be Rope so look out for that.
PS. Apologies for the delay in posting this – I have been busy with work this week and struggled to find time to write this up! x