Friday, February 01, 2019

The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time- Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much”(1956)-A Film Review

The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time- Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much”(1956)-A Film Review 

DVD Review

[I worked with Sandy Salmon for many years over at American Film Gazette but when times became hard as they did, and are doing on the print publishing business and not just newspapers which is what you hear about most in the media we had to let him go. He landed on his feet here. When Allan Jackson brought me over at a time when I saw the writing on the wall at the Gazette Sandy and I were reunited which I think we were both happy about. Here is where things are sometimes funny thought. Soon after Allan brought me over there was a huge internal fight (2017) the result of which Allan had been ousted and I was selected by the newly established Editorial Board which was to oversee all the work to be the new site manager. Sandy was in line to take the legendary Sam Lowell’s place as he retired to emeritus status until the Board and I decided that departments and department heads was the cause of too much in-fighting in a profession already rife with such goings-on. This profession is not for the faint-hearted as Sandy would be the first to tell you. So I got a job I wasn’t looking for and he didn’t the he wanted. Blame the exiled Allan Jackson for both those conditions. Greg Green]

By Sandy Salmon

The Man Who Knew Too Much, starring James Stewart, Doris Day, directed again (first time 1934) by Sir Alfred Hitchcock, 1956   

People, historians, especially counter-historians, often speculate if one little fact was changed then history would have taken a decisive turn the other way. You know stuff like if Hitler had been killed at the beer garden in Munich in 1923 or if Lenin could not have gotten back to Russia on that passage through Germany train in the spring of 1917. That idea runs to the personal side of life as well, sometimes with strange results like being in the wrong place at the wrong time like the protagonists in the late Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s off-beat remake of his 1934 classic The Man Who Knew Too Much. So just like with great historical figures and events we can play the same game here what if Ben, played by Jimmy Stewart, Jo played by Doris Day and their young son had not been heading from Casablanca to Marrakesh on some dusty woe-begotten bus and run into a French intelligence agent whose dying words talked of an assassination plot against a big shot foreign dignity in bloody England.      

But, of course, they were and the chase was on from there ruining a perfectly respectable little family vacation and putting Ben and Jo on the edge-to speak nothing of their son who will eventually be kidnapped just because Ma and Pa knew too freaking much. Once the conspirators know they know that young son’s life isn’t worth much, maybe. He is kidnapped to insure Ben and Jo’s silence. But they trace the party to London where the action gets hot and heavy and the conspiracy to kill the foreign big wigs in full gear. Except through keen analysis and some luck Ben and Jo figure out that the plot is going to be hatched, that dignitary is going to be killed while attending a symphony concert at Royal Albert Hall (where else). The long and short of it is that Ben and Jo discover where the kidnappers have taken their son, they struggle to get to him and eventually find out about the Royal Albert caper. They are able to foil the plot by a timely scream from Jo who sights the paid assassin as he attempts his dastardly work. After much ado their son is recovered and they can go on about their average American family life.

But let’s say that big wig was killed maybe there would have been another Sarajevo, 1914. There’s a little history in the conditional for you. See this one it is better that the 1934 version which as Hitchcock himself is quoted as saying was the work of an inspired amateur and the 1956 was done by a master artist, a pro. And that is right.  

No comments:

Post a Comment