“The Man Who Knew Too Much” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 23
“If you ever get hungry, our garden back home is full of snails. We tried everything to get rid of them. We never thought of a Frenchman!”
Right from the beginning, I’m enjoying this movie. As a percussionist myself, I like seeing the percussion section of the orchestra front and center – particularly the timpanist. It’s great to see the overture of the opening credits actually performed on-screen, and tied to the film itself. A nice touch.
I also am a big fan of Jimmy Stewart. His persona is very similar from movie to movie, but it’s endlessly endearing no matter what he’s in.
Something that took me out of the movie momentarily is realizing all at once where a particular sample in a song I really like comes from. I’ve listened to this a bunch and never knew it was pulled from this film:
Some other random thoughts:
- Why is Hitchcock so obsessed with taxidermy?
- Who leaves their kid with a total stranger they just met in a foreign country? Terrible parents.
- Bernard Hermann does a fine job, but this movie’s got nothing on his work in Vertigo or Psycho.
- The movie felt tedious at times. It might just be because it took a really long time to build suspense in various scenes, but I didn’t feel bad for these parents due to how many bad decisions they’d made. It’s similar to watching something like Prometheus – a visually rich movie with characters who make poor life choices constantly.
- Doris Day is really quite fantastic in this movie. She sort of steals the film with her performance.
- The very last scene is such a poor coda. Hitchcock has a really weird sense of humor. It works perfectly in the restaurant as Stewart struggles with how to sit, but falls flat with the one-off joke at the end of the picture after so much time spent building up the climax.
The Man Who Knew Too Much was at the time of this review at #216 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #460 among the best films of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
The Man Who Knew Too Much vs. K-PAX
Kevin Spacey does a lot with a fairly weird script in K-PAX, but The Man Who Knew Too Much is the better film.
The Man Who Knew Too Much vs. Desperado
Desperado is so damn good. Back when Robert Rodriguez was still doing his best work.
The Man Who Knew Too Much vs. The Sting
The Man Who Knew Too Much vs. Patriot Games
Patriot Games! I love Harrison Ford, and he’s excellent in this Tom Clancy vehicle. Sean Bean, too.
The Man Who Knew Too Much vs. WALL·E
WALL·E wears its politics on its sleeve, but it’s one of Pixar’s bravest films for it. The storytelling works, and it’s a feast for the eyes. It’ll beat The Man Who Knew Too Much.
The Man Who Knew Too Much vs. Willow
Willow, of course. Such a great fantasy film. A unique tale, still-cool special effects, and a varied cast.
The Man Who Knew Too Much vs. Napoleon Dynamite
A divisive film, to be sure, but I’d much rather watch Napoleon Dynamite again than The Man Who Knew Too Much.
The Man Who Knew Too Much vs. 1408
1408. Love Cusack. Love Stephen King. It’s such a mindbender. Probably deserves to be a bit higher on my chart.
The Man Who Knew Too Much vs. The Purge
The Purge surprised me by executing well on a fairly taught, high-concept script. It’s not quite a horror movie, but it is horrific. I like it quite a bit. More than The Man Who Knew Too Much.
The Man Who Knew Too Much vs. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
I wouldn’t say that Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was as strong as Ghost Protocol, but it’s an excellent member of the franchise all the same. I certainly had a lot more fun watching it than The Man Who Knew Too Much.
The Man Who Knew Too Much is now ranked #542 out of 1445 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Last for this week is Open Range. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.