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#28 The Man Who Knew Too Much (British)

The first of two Hitchcock titles of the same name, this film was one of the critically acclaimed British films that brought the master of suspense to America. While I happen to prefer the Hollywood remake myself, there are elements of the original film that any Hitchcock fan would hold in high regard. Leslie Banks and Edna Best star as the couple on vacation in Switzerland, when their daughter played by Nova Pilbeam is kidnapped to be held for blackmail. The real star of the film however is Peter Lorre, the leader of the assassins who plans to gun down an important political figure at the Royal Albert Hall. That particular scene in which the gunman fires during the clash of symbols, only to be distracted by the screams of our leading lady, is unquestionably the film’s most signature moment in the Hollywood version and it resonates just as profoundly here in the original. Where this film stands alone is a highly entertaining shootout in the streets of London between the police and the assassins, in which the family is able to escape while Lorre and his men are dramatically done away with one by one. An ambitious film that probably didn’t have either the budget or technology to make the script as monumental as Hitchcock had envisioned it, was perhaps felt as a missed opportunity as it was the only story that he ever told twice.

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