643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Jeff
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643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#1 Post by Jeff » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:33 pm

The Man Who Knew Too Much

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An ordinary British couple vacationing in Switzerland suddenly find themselves embroiled in a case of international intrigue when their daughter is kidnapped by spies plotting a political assassination. This fleet and gripping early thriller from the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, was the first film the director made after signing to the Gaumont-British Picture Corporation. Besides affirming Hitchcock’s brilliance, it gave the brilliant Peter Lorre his first English-speaking role, as a slithery villain. With its tension and gallows humor, it’s pure Hitchcock, and it set the tone for films like The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes.


Disc Features

- New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- New audio commentary featuring film historian Philip Kemp
- New interview with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro
- The Illustrated Hitchcock, an extensive interview with director Alfred Hitchcock from 1972, conducted by journalist Pia Lindstrom and film historian William Everson
- Audio excerpts from filmmaker François Truffaut’s legendary 1962 interviews with Hitchcock
- Restoration demonstration
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme

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The Narrator Returns
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#2 Post by The Narrator Returns » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:42 pm

Interested to see the Guillermo del Toro interview. I suppose it's a belated way of making up for the lack of his MoC commentary for Vampyr.

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Jeff
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#3 Post by Jeff » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:22 pm

This release makes the month for me. Having another definitive release of another British Hitchcock is certainly welcome, and what a set of supplements! Phillip Kemp is one of my favorite film scholars and I look forward to his commentary. The Illustrated Hitchcock is an hour long. Of course the Truffaut tapes are always welcome, and I can't wait to hear del Toro's take.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#4 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:26 pm

I'm delighted to have a new scholarly commentary- they'd been getting pretty thin on the ground lately, and Hitch always seems to cry out for them to me.

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The Narrator Returns
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#5 Post by The Narrator Returns » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:35 pm

Be careful what you wish for. This could have been graced with a Marian Keane or Drew Casper commentary.

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colinr0380
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#6 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:07 am

Yes, it is great to see a new commentary. Hopefully Kemp will go into the real life Sidney Street siege that the end of the film references.

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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#7 Post by MichaelB » Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:16 am

colinr0380 wrote:Hopefully Kemp will go into the real life Sidney Street siege that the end of the film references.
That has to be a racing certainty - I doubt even an American scholar would have missed that, but it's inconceivable that a British one would.

Especially given that the real-life siege was one of the first genuine news events to be captured on camera as it was actually happening - newsreels of the 1910s had an annoying (if logistically understandable) habit of showing the aftermath of things rather than the events themselves.

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TMDaines
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#8 Post by TMDaines » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:48 pm

I'm more than happy to keep snapping up the Hitchcock Blu-ray releases. The booklet looks a bit of a token gesture but that'a always been more MoC's strength.

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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#9 Post by ryannichols7 » Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:24 pm

The Narrator Returns wrote:Be careful what you wish for. This could have been graced with a Marian Keane or Drew Casper commentary.
seriously. couldn't be more glad they got Phillip Kemp instead, so we don't have to be explained every scene what Hitchcock was getting at sexually. I'm sure he'll be fantastic.

(I've never heard a Drew Casper commentary but Keane is right there with Insdorf as my least favorite commentator)

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#10 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:32 pm

Haha, Drew Casper is is such a delight that when MoC had access to his previously recorded Lifeboat commentary for their release they decided it was worse than no commentary at all. He's from the Richard Schickel school of never saying anything interesting at all rather than the Keane school of saying a lot of stuff, some of which doesn't make a lot of sense.

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TMDaines
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#11 Post by TMDaines » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:34 pm

Poor Hitchcock: he really does get the shitty end of the stick when it comes to commentaries on his films.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#12 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:35 pm

I liked the Bruce Eder one on The Lady Vanishes and whoever it was on Rebecca, but I'm having a hard time thinking of any other solid ones off the top of my head.

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andyli
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#13 Post by andyli » Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:17 pm

There are four on Notorious. So is none of them considered good?

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dustybooks
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#14 Post by dustybooks » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:32 pm

Rudy Behlmer's Notorious commentary is pretty good. And I like the Leonard Leff track on Rebecca; his book about the Hitchcock-Selznick collaborations is quite interesting and solidly written.

From an older version of this forum (I think), I have kept all these years a pricess condensation of Keane's 39 Steps commentary. I don't dislike Keane as much as some but it still made me laugh:
That’s a phallus. This is a phallus. Look at the center of the frame: that’s a phallus. We dissolve to a phallus. Hitchcock backs away from him, creating a phallus. This shot is genuinely striking: there is a lack of phallus.
To bring this back to TMWKTM, one of the reasons the 1934 film has such an edge over the remake for me is that the marriage between Leslie Banks and Edna Best's characters actually seems realistic and equitable. It's actually one of the things I love most about the movie; Best flirts with other men without endangering her partnership and isn't befitted with any stereotypical gender roles. The scene of James Stewart coming home and forcing Doris Day to take sedatives in the '56 film is striking but a pretty stark contrast. (Though it's interesting that Day's involvement in the latter part of the story is of greater quantity than Best's.)

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feihong
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#15 Post by feihong » Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:37 am

"Haha, Drew Casper is is such a delight that when MoC had access to his previously recorded Lifeboat commentary for their release they decided it was worse than no commentary at all. He's from the Richard Schickel school of never saying anything interesting at all rather than the Keane school of saying a lot of stuff, some of which doesn't make a lot of sense."

Casper gives an awesomely bad commentary on Advise and Consent. My favorite bit is when he starts measuring Preminger's storytelling decisions against what how Casper himself read the novel. He presents it as a collection of "good moves" and "bad moves" on Preminger's part. Things Preminger leaves out in his adaptation? The very lengthy back-stories of each of the senators. "Bad move, Preminger; bad move." The "bad move" line will haunt me.

Haven't heard Rudy Behlmer's commentary on Notorious, but now I'll have to give a listen. I like Behlmer's commentaries a lot, generally. Bruce Eder did a very good job as well.

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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#16 Post by Jack Phillips » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:06 am

dustybooks wrote:Best flirts with other men without endangering her partnership and isn't befitted with any stereotypical gender roles. The scene of James Stewart coming home and forcing Doris Day to take sedatives in the '56 film is striking but a pretty stark contrast.
Apples and oranges.

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Feego
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#17 Post by Feego » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:39 pm

I think the remake could have benefited from the brisk pacing and shorter running time of the original, but I actually prefer Stewart and Day. Part of what I like about Hitchcock's treatment of the couple in the remake is that they don't really seem that happily married to begin with. They are gradually drawn closer through their ordeal. On the flipside, the 1934 villains win hands down.

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triodelover
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#18 Post by triodelover » Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:42 pm


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The Narrator Returns
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#19 Post by The Narrator Returns » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:12 pm

DVDBeaver

Great name for the restoration demo.

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cdnchris
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#20 Post by cdnchris » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:24 pm

colinr0380 wrote:Yes, it is great to see a new commentary. Hopefully Kemp will go into the real life Sidney Street siege that the end of the film references.
Indeed he does devote a nice section of the commentary to it. It's also mentioned elsewhere in the supplements.

Brianruns10
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#21 Post by Brianruns10 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:08 pm

Feego wrote:I think the remake could have benefited from the brisk pacing and shorter running time of the original, but I actually prefer Stewart and Day. Part of what I like about Hitchcock's treatment of the couple in the remake is that they don't really seem that happily married to begin with. They are gradually drawn closer through their ordeal. On the flipside, the 1934 villains win hands down.
The '56 wins for me on the strength of the masterful Albert Hall sequence. It is a study in how Hitch grew as an artist, to compare this scene to the original, which is a little less self assured, and not so adeptly paced for maximum suspense.

Also it's in VistaVision. VistaVision always wins. :)

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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#22 Post by peerpee » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:32 am

I think it's pointless to argue which is better, they're both so different. I love them both, but I really enjoyed the 1930s Britishness of this one. Some incredible touches. A hell of a preamble into THE 39 STEPS.

Really interesting restoration demonstration. Fascinating info about a Selznick print they sat on since 2002, and then the scanning of a better element at the BFI in 2011. Would like to see more of these.

The booklet mentions that the restoration was carried out by the Prasad Group, India and Criterion.

http://www.prasadgroup.org/dfr.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Desperately hoping for more 1930s Hitchcock (or earlier) on Blu-ray!

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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#23 Post by cdnchris » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:37 am

Agreed on the restoration demonstration. Found it to be one of the more fascinating ones to come frombecause it goes into great detail about the search for a decent print, issues with the print they had (warping) and the challenges that came from it, and then even more detail into the technical sides of the equipment used. Far more interesting than simple before-and-after comparisons.

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Drucker
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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#24 Post by Drucker » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:37 pm

Just got through this film and it's a real treat. The transfer is absolutely superb. I can't recall a single scratch whatsoever, and it is incredibly even throughout the presentation.

For the film itself, Lorre is brilliant (perhaps too good, he acts miles better than anyone else). The film was a bit confounding, and there are some pretty important plot points that go by very quickly (and I had to re-check on wikipedia where certain things were). But even though I was a bit confused at points, the film is such a brisk treat it made no difference.

I started sampling the Hitchcock 1972 interview and it is quite good as well. A little similar to the John Ford interview on Stagecoach (except less angry), as the hallmarks of his work are dissected and Hitchcock kind of replies with an "obviously it's that way, and it has to be that way!" that many great directors seem to possess.

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Re: 643 The Man Who Knew Too Much

#25 Post by manicsounds » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:40 am

Drucker wrote:Just got through this film and it's a real treat. The transfer is absolutely superb. I can't recall a single scratch whatsoever, and it is incredibly even throughout the presentation.
If you look on the right side of the frame, there were some serious damage streaks on many parts which you can see very clearly during the restoration demo. Although they fixed it somewhat, the damage still remains in most shots of the finished restoration.

It's been a while since I saw the remake, but I think I like the remake more, but maybe because I saw that one first.
The ending shootout in the 1934 version was quite lengthy and surprisingly intense. Didn't know that was based on a real event until after watching the extras.

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