The Man Who Knew Too Much with Special Guests Janet Maslin and Robert Harris
Director: Alfred Hitchcock Run Time: 120 min. Rating: PG Release Year: 1956
Starring: Bernard Miles, Brenda De Banzie, Doris Day, James Stewart, Ralph Truman
Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much was his third production in the large format VistaVision process and Perspecta stereo. A re-make of his own 1934 British production, it expands on the themes of the original, and places James Stewart and Doris Day at the top of the superb cast. The film was originally released in 1956, and re-issued in the early ‘60s, using prints from the original release. In 1967, all rights to four of his films – Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Vertigo – reverted to his company. Hundreds of cartons of original production elements were to be delivered – at which time a decision was made that would affect the films from that moment on. An order was sent to Paramount and Technicolor to destroy all elements world-wide with the exception of original camera negatives, protection masters, optical track negatives, and 5 prints each – 16 and 35mm. Those elements were shipped to a non-climate-controlled warehouse in Los Angeles, and sat there until Universal licensed the films from his estate in 1983.
The studio found major problems with all four films, and had to use secondary elements for their 1983 release. In 1996, the studio asked Robert Harris to do a proper inspection of all four films. What was found was not good news. The worst of the group was The Man Who Knew Too Much, with an extremely faded and unprintable camera negative. 25 years later, the film has now been fully restored. The film will be projected in Super VistaVision 4k along with original Perspecta stereo sound mix.
A Q&A with Robert Harris and Janet Maslin follows the film.
Screening is a gift to The Bedford Playhouse by NBCUniversal.
James Stewart and Doris Day give magnificent performances as Ben and Jo McKenna, an American couple vacationing in Morocco, whose son is kidnapped and taken to England. Caught up in international espionage, the McKennas’ lives hang in the balance as they race to save their son in the chilling, climactic showdown in London’s famous Royal Albert Hall.