Monday, February 15, 2010

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Ludicrous but highly entertaining. Lots of gritty action and strange comedy. Peter Lorre, in his first English role, plays a giggling, skunk-haired leader of a group of assassins who kidnap a teenage girl to keep her parents, who have stumbled onto vital information, quiet. Remade in the fifties with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day. The remake substituted middle-class angst for the stiff upper lips of the original. I'll take the stiff upper lips, especially if it means no one sings que sera sera. Nova Pilbeam is great as the quivering, saucer-eyed kidnapped girl.


  1. You had never seen this before? I wonder if the debate between the remake and the original could be one of those pop cultural questions thats supposed to define something about your personality. Like if you like the Beatles or The Rolling Stones more. There's probably no real debate here, just preference. While I do like and admire the original, the 50's remake has always been where its at. "Que Sera Sera" and all.

  2. You'd probably win an argument over which is better, especially since the parents in the remake have complexity and the parents in the original simply do not. For me, it's just preference. I prefer the aesthetics of the Gaumont studio in the thirties to the aesthetics of Universal in the fifties. Nothing more, nothing less.