The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Genres - Spy Film, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Run Time - 75 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Brendon Hanley

Though Alfred Hitchcock would remake the movie himself in 1956 with a bigger budget, the original 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much is arguably a more historically significant and aesthetically interesting film. It was Hitchcock's first true international hit. Though he wouldn't have a major success in America until The Lady Vanishes, Man and the subsequent The 39 Steps helped establish the director's distinctive style and lay the groundwork for his popularity. Along with Hitchcock's trademark blend of suspense and humor and blurring of the normal and abnormal, the film also features his characteristically grand showpieces, most memorably the recreation of the true-life "Sidney Street Siege" and the famous Albert Hall scene. The film was also significant as German actor Peter Lorre's first English-language part. Having fled Nazi Germany in 1933, Lorre had to learn his lines phonetically, but he steals the film as the cruel but melancholic bad guy, and his difficulties with English barely show. The actor would go on to give memorable turns in such notable Hollywood productions as Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon.