Monday, November 06, 2006

The man who knew too much (1956)

Actors: James Stewart, Doris Day
Dir: Sir Alfred Hitchcock

A remake of an old Hitchcock movie (1934) of the same name, this is a fascinating thriller. The 1934 movie was made by Sir Alfred in England. In his own words the 1934 movie was the work of a talented amateur and the later was the work of a professional. In other words the director considered the later version as a superior movie, a point of view many critics differ with.

Whatever said the 1956 version I watched seemed to be one of the best thrillers I have seen till date. You have a gripping plot, the kidnap of a young boy whose parents are vacationing in Morocco and his rescue in England.

Music plays an inseparable part in making sure that the viewer sits on the edge of his seat. The highlight being the performance (the climax) of the London Symphony Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall, London where the assassination attempt is supposed to happen.

James Stewart & Doris Day have done a fine job playing Dr & Mrs. McKenna and not to forget the performance of the little boy and the other members of the cast. Doris Day’s performance especially is impeccable, the scene when she knows that her kid has been kidnapped and the climax where she renders the famous song "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Qué Será, Será)".

The story is simple but the way the director has taken it forward is gripping and not to forget the suspense element Sir Alfred is known for. A couple on vacation to Morocco with their kid are witness to the death of a French spy. The spy dies in the lap of the vacationing doctor and utters something of paramount importance to him, about an impending assasination of a high ranked diplomat. The couples kid is kidnapped to keep their mouth shut, so that they don’t divulge the assasination plot to the authorities concerned.

Will the parents get the boy back? Would they be able to foil the assasination bid? How would the parents secure the release of the boy?

Trivia: Hitchcock appears in this film while the family of Dr McKenna is touring the markets of Marrakesh. He is seen watching the acrobats in the market place, with his back facing the camera

During the making of this movie Sir Alfred, due to the Sub-Saharan temperatures of Morocco appeared on location in his T-shirts. Normally Sir Alfred is only seen on location or the sets prim and proper, in his suit

The music composer of the movie Bernard Herrmann appears as himself, conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in the climax scene

This film won Oscars for Best Music and Best Original Score for the song Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Qué Será, Será)

The song “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Qué Será, Será)” even topped the UK and US pop music charts

No comments: