The Man Who Knew Too Much by Alfred Hitchcock

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In this 1956 remake of the 1934 version of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dr. Ben McKenna, played by James Stewart, and Josephine ‘Jo’ Conway, played by Doris Day, inadvertently get involved in an assassination plan after a mysterious Frenchman is murdered and their son is subsequently kidnapped. Hitchcock himself said, “Let’s say the first version was the work of a talented amateur and the second was made by a professional,” (Spoto) to which I interpret as him admitting that his skills and cinematic techniques as a director had improved throughout his career. This film does have cinematic techniques that are typical of Hitchcock, although not all are necessarily done in the typical way. One technique that is typical is the mother/ son relationship between Jo and Hank, played by Christopher Olsen. This relationship may not be like that of Bruno Anthony and his mom in Strangers On A Train, or like Norman Bates and his mom in Psycho, there is still the close bond between them. Early in the movie, while in the hotel room, Jo and Hank sing Whatever Will Be, Will Be together as Jo gets ready for dinner and Hank gets ready for bed, and is the song which Jo sings later on in the Embassy, too loudly, to capture Hank’s attention. One technique that is typical, but done in a different way is the wrong man scenario. Hitchcock has done the wrong man scenario in the case of somebody being murdered, and an innocent person trying to prove they are not the murderer. In The Man Who Knew Too Much, Louis Bernard, the mysterious Frenchman the family meet on the bus at the beginning of the film, first believe that they are the couple who have an assassination plot against the Ambassador, but finds out it is not them, but the Drayto... ... middle of paper ... ...airs by Ben. While this film does have typical Hitchcock cinematic techniques, there are a few that were not used. One of them is the typical Hitchcock blond: promiscuous, uncaring, icy, but in this film, Jo, a blonde, is not promiscuous, in fact, she stopped working on Broadway to live with Ben in Indianapolis, she actually is caring, for her son, and while it can be said she is icy at the beginning for first believing Bernard is a bad guy, and second for thinking the Drayton’s were following them, it can also be taken for being cautious of others. Another would be that this film does not have a lot of female humiliation, although there is the scene at the beginning on the bus when Hank accidentally takes the veil off the Arab woman. Works Cited Spoto, Donald. The Art of Alfred Hitchcock, Fifty Years of His Motion Pictures. 2nd. New York: Anchor, 1992. Print.
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