Beginning with his first major
Alfred Hitchcock began a familiar formula within his films which made for
countless successes. He very often used ordinary people, put into what he
called extraordinary situations. In the case of The Man Who Knew Too Much,
Leslie Banks stars as the ordinary man and title character. Once discovering a
plot for a political assassination, an otherwise average man is thrown into a
thrilling case of international intrigue.
The recently released biopic about Alfred Hitchcock is primarily focused on the risks that he took when making the film Psycho, which essentially started the slasher genre and changed the direction of horror pictures forever more. This was certainly an interesting point in Hitchcock’s career, but mostly because it was later on in his career and many thought that his best pictures had already been made. The truth is, even from this first
production, Hitchcock was not afraid to take risks.
One of these risks comes in the casting of the film’s most memorable villain, Abbott (Peter Lorre). This would be Lorre’s transition into English-speaking roles, though it came at a time of desperation. Although Lorre was an admired and respected actor after M, the war had put a hold on a film career in
Man Who Knew Too Much was a saving grace for Lorre’s career, and a risk that
paid off well for Hitchcock. So much so that it is hard not to miss Lorre most
of all in Hitchcock’s admirable second attempt at this film decades later. Germany
The Blu-ray release for The Man Who Knew Too Much includes a new digital restoration of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. There is also an optional audio commentary with film historian Philip Kemp and a new interview with fan and filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro. Archived material includes a 1972 interview with Hitchcock and audio excerpts from Truffaut’s legendary interview from 1962. There is also a short featurette with a restoration demonstration and a booklet insert featuring an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme.