The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Dr. Ben McKenna, (James Stewart) goes on holiday with his wife (Doris Day) and son in Morocco where they bump into a couple of strangers who will forever alter the course of their lives. The stranger winds up dead, and when they attempt to report his death they wind up mixed up in an assassination plot far bigger than they could have imagined. In order to shut them up, their young son is kidnapped, which takes them on a globe hopping hunt to find him. Talk about a tourist trap. This is one of those movies that makes you never want to leave Indiana (or wherever it is you happen to be from.) Jimmy Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock collaborated on some of the best films ever made, and this is certainly one of them. The plot is not quite watertight, which is unusual for a Hitchcock movie, but there’s such a collection of beautifully shot and very tense scenes that you hardly notice. Stewart is the quintessential everyman and high on my list of all time favorite actors. Other than his fine performance the other thing this movie is known for is Doris Day and the classic song “Que Sera Sera” (Whatever will be, will be). People who bemoan remakes should take note that they are far from a modern invention. There is an old debate as to whether this version is better than Hitchock’s original 1934 version. I cannot chime in on that, having only seen this one, but the point is that just because something is a remake does not mean it cannot have its own identity and technical merits. I still prefer Vertigo as my all time favorite of Hitchock/Stewart movie, but this is right up there.