Thursday, July 16, 2020

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

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 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 is 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