The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Ania
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by Ania »

Precisely in Polish television TVP Kultura were releasing "The Man Who Knew Too Much" The film I know by heart, but I watched with pleasure. Hitchcock is able to build great tension. I could not believe a film with Doris flies in the Polish television. I'm in great shock :shock:
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Musiclover
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by Musiclover »

David Geffen bought the Malibu home from Doris and totally changed it over the years. He just recently put it on the market, and you can find a story with photos by searching for "David Geffen to sell his Malibu fortress."

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Lauren Benjamin
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Doris' Malibu home in Malibu, CA.

Unread post by Lauren Benjamin »

Thanks, ML, for that info. I'll check it out.

Getting to the house would not have been very difficult or time consuming for D & M. They would have driven due west from Beverly to the very end of Santa Monica. Then on a hilly street that took them down to the Pacific Coast Highway going north. While traveling north, one would look off to the left toward the ocean until the house came into view. We never could see much and definitely not Doris because the front part of the house couldn't be seen, of course.

I'm happy that Doris had a place to relax and clear her mind when enjoying the views from that house. Maybe she saw a whale or two. :D

Lauren

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Musiclover
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by Musiclover »

Lauren, your observation reminded me of a comment Katharine Hepburn once made: "If you have a place to hide [as she did at her family's home in Connecticut], you don't have to be a celebrity all the time." I've always had the impression that Doris probably has felt that way about her homes, whether in Malibu or Beverly Hills or Carmel.

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by Tybear2015 »

Lauren,
Thank you for sharing these pictures of Doris's Malibu home. I am glad she had a place to escape from the everyday pressures of life to relax and spend time with family and friends. Thank you for taking the time to post these pictures so that the members on this forum can be more knowledgeable about the Doris we all love so much.

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Johnny
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Filming began on The Man Who Knew Too Much on May 13, 1955 in Marrakesh. There was shooting in London, North Africa, as well as at the studio in the United States.

Edith Head, the costume designer for the picture complimented Doris for having "A natural flair for style" and being the" easiest star" she has ever worked with, impressive since Edith Head had worked with all the great stars. She worked on costumes for Grace Kelly in Rear Window, Kim Novak in Vertigo, and Tippi Hedren in the Birds.

Edith Head said designing costumes for Doris in The Man Who Knew Too Much was difficult. She said, "I had to make her (Doris' character), reasonably drab and it was hard work". But Hitchcock and Head knew exactly what they were doing with Doris Day.

An executive at Paramount wrote in a memo after seeing a rough cut of the film, that Doris
Day is every bit as good as she was in Love Me or Leave Me.

Doris should have been nominated for an Academy Award for her role in The Man Who Knew Too Much. I think this is also true for, Love Me Or Leave Me, The Pajama Game, Teacher's Pet, Midnight Lace and The Thrill of It All. It is a Hollywood Academy Awards injustice to not have acknowledged Doris Day's major contributions and talent to film history.

The film was released in June 1956.
Johnny

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Information on DVD back jacket cover of the Man Who Knew Too Much:

James Stewart and Doris Day in a rare dramatic role are superb in this brilliant suspense thriller from the undisputed master. Stewart and Day play Ben and Jo Mc Kenna, innocent Americans vacationing in Morocco with their son Hank. After a French spy dies in Ben's arms in the Marrakech Market, the couple discover their son has been kidnapped and taken to England. Not knowing who they can trust, the Mc Kennas are caught up in a nightmare of international espionage, assassination and terror. Soon, all their lives hang in the balance as they draw closer to the truth and a chilling climatic moment in London's Royal Albert Hall.

A remake of his excellent 1934 film of the same name, Hitchcock considers this version to be superior to the original. The now classic, "Que Sera Sera", used on the climatic scene, won the Academy Award for Best Song in 1956.

Special Features:

The making of The Man Who Knew Too Much, an original documentary of the making of the film featuring interviews with Associate Producer, Herbert Coleman, screenwriter, John Michael Hayed, Producer Designer Henry Bumstead and Pat Hitchcock O'Connell, daughter of Alfred Hitchcock.

Production Photographs:

A photo and poster gallery from the film

Production Notes

Cast and Filmmakers

Theatrical Trailer and more

I shared this film with a friend who is in his forties and he said he was surprised by Doris' excellent dramatic skills and that he thought Doris only made comedies and musicals. This comment has motivated me to share Doris' films more with the younger generation who may not be familiar with her work. Such a talented actress as Doris deserves more recognition for her versatility. Doris' film are timeless.
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ray
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Yes they should know about Young Man With A Horn, Storm Warning, Julie and Midnight Lace. And of course Love Me Or Leave Me. Young At Heart could be added.

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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In Tom Santopietro's book Considering Doris Day, he states that "Following Love Me Or Leave Me, Doris gave the single best performance that she ever gave on film, in Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, a 1956 remake of his 1934 film of the same name. With a taut screenplay by John Michael Hayes, cinematography by Robert Burks, a first-rate score by Bernard Hermann and the master himself directing one of his certifiable masterpieces, The Man Who Knew Too Much represents a triumph on every level, a fact borne out by its successful 1984 theatrical release".
Johnny

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Have just returned from seeing The Man Who Knew Too Much on the big screen. Yes, Texas Public Radio today sponsored the theater showcase here in San Antonio. I attended with wide anticipation to reacquaint myself and to see the public reaction to the film. The last time I attended the Santikos Bijou I enjoyed the big screen showing of Pillow Talk. The management at that time was very pleased they had a sell out audience. Here once again the theater was packed.
There was age representation from teens, many 20 to 40 years olds and mostly middle aged guests. The announcer before the viewing asked if some of the audience had not ever seen the film, and there were a few raised hands. The announcer mentioned that many people did not associate Doris Day in dramatic roles, but stated her performance in this film would be a surprise especially in the scene where she has a breakdown after learning her son had been kidnapped. He also talked about the song Que Sera, Sera being a major part of the story.
The audience was really wrapped up with the action during the entire movie, There was a hush throughout the movie with appropriate reactions to the dialogue and drama and Hitchcock's moments of levity. The quality of the film print was excellent, which added to the enjoyment. When the film concluded there was applause from the audience, In my opinion Doris Day should have been nominated for an Oscar and receive the Oscar. This was was her best dramatic performance, flawless from beginning to end.
After the film, I approached the gentlemen who made the film announcements and suggested that he should consider showing The Pajama Game and Love Me Or Leave Me. He was acquainted with both films and thanked me for the suggestion and my attendance.
Happy Days, Texas Gonzalo

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Great story, Texas. I remember seeing The Man Who Knew Too Much for the first time on the big screen in London in the late 1980s. It was one of Hitchcock's 'five missing films' (the others being Rear Window, Vertigo, The Trouble With Harry and Rope), which were out of circulation because of legal arrangements that Hitch had entered into.

I remember I had a camera with a zoom lens and I got some great shots while the film was playing. That was in the days when you had to have your film developed. I was very proud of them - until it became common for people to do screen captures of films on their computer!

The Pajama Game and Love Me or Leave Me are great suggestions - have seen both on big screens -the details in LMOLM are amazing - and The Pajama Game is just so much fun!
Follow Remembering Doris Day: https://twitter.com/DayRemembering

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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What a great experience, Texas!

Thanks for posting a detailed description of the event. There is nothing like watching a wonderful film on a big screen with an audience. So happy you got to attend.

Michael
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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In Tom Santopietro's book Considering Doris Day,
It states: Doris Day followed up this triumph (Love Me or Love Me), with the single best performance she ever gave on film, in Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, a 1956 remake of his 1934 film of the same name.
....The Man Who Knew Too Much represents a triumph on every level, a fact borne out by its' successful 1984 theatrical release.

The sequence where Ben forces his wife to take medication because their son has been kidnapped stands your as the single best piece of acting Doris Day ever performed. Period. It is also a good depiction of complicated maternal anguish as has ever been committed to film. The sequence begins when, just before telling Jo the news that Hank has been kidnapped, Ben asks Jo to take one pills in order to relax. Jo replies, "You used to tell me I took too many pills....now you tell me to take them".( Yet again, the hints that all is not blissful in the Mc Kenna marriage.) As the sedatives start to take place , Ben breaks the news to Jo that Hank has been kidnapped. Horror rising within her, Jo cannot fully express her anguish because the pills have begun their work. Crying over the loss of her son, angry at her husband for his duplicity and his infantilizing treatment of her, Jo wants to rush out and find her child....In running the gamut of emotions, Doris Day does not hit one false note---with her entirely believable line readings, her body language, changing from brisk and forthright, to defenseless terror, she is superb.....

Only a talent of the highest caliber could access such complex, powerful emotions for one of the world's best and mist famously demanding directors, but in Doris Day's world view she isn't doing anything unusual. Fascinating. And wrong.
Johnny

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Hi Johnny,

Don't know if you've seen The Doris Day show, (I may be wrong on the episode) ... but on Doris leaves Today's world, Toby is been missing... When Doris hears that, it's almost the same scene as in The Man Who Knew Too Much… I think it's a very believable, it always gets to me.

P

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by Johnny »

Thank you Peter!

I have the five seasons of the Doris Day television series. I will try to find the episode you mentioned. It sounds really interesting.
Johnny

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Jas1
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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The Episode is in season 3.

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howard
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Just discovered, in a 2014 interview by Margaret Barton-Fumo in Film Comment Magazine, a nice quote about Doris' performance in "The Man Who Knew Too Much:"

“Doris Day is incredible in that film. There’s a scene where Jimmy Stewart has to tell her that Hank has been kidnapped and he’s not telling her. She’s like [in Doris Day voice] “Where’s Hank?” [now as Jimmy Stewart] “Oh aahh I’ll tell you about Hank.” And there’s this case that he has, he opens it up, and there’s a hypodermic needle and he takes a sedative. He gives her a pill, and he says “Just take it,” and she says “What’s that?” and she’s wonderful. Her reaction is incredible. I love that film.”
Like Irene Dunne done.

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by doris-day-fan »

Speaking of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH - found it interesting that Doris and Jim Stewart in the movie were from Indianapolis!
Have a great holiday week coming up.
Mary Anne
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Johnny
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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In Alan Gelb's book, The Doris Day Scrapbook he wrote about The Man Who Knew Too Much: This is part of this review.

"Hitchcock used Doris Day to great effect in The Man Who Knew Too Much. In movie after movie, she has played the staunch optimist, the stoic sunshine girl, but there has been an emotional and vulnerable underside to her (unlike Debbie Reynolds and Maggie McNamara, the calculating professional virgins of the fifties who smiled prettily but put up signs that said, (" Don't Touch"). Hitchcock identified this underside, and exploited it fully and perhaps a bit mercilessly. As Jo Mc Kenna, in The Man Who Knew Too Much, Doris played a complicated highly-strung woman. Jo had been a successful stage actress before her marriage to Stewart, who demanded that she relinquish her stage career and relocate to Indiana. It suggested that the relocation has not been just what the doctor ordered. In the very beginning the character of Jo is presented as troubled, dependent on pills, and perhaps too intense and over-compensating in a mother-son relationship from which Stewart feels excluded ( similar to mother-son relationships , albeit of a grimmer nature, pop up in Strangers On A Train and Psycho). There is a startling scene where Doris finds out about her son's kidnapping, and her resultant hysteria serves both as the inevitable outlet for what has been building up and is evidence of Doris' thespian talents. The Man Who Knew Too Much is the only film Doris ever made with a great director (such as Michael Curtiz, Frank Tashlin, Stanley Donen, and Charles Walters are not in the same league). Her work with a great master of the art was absolutely revelatory, Hitchcock used Doris in much the same way he used Janet Leigh in Psycho. Both women are so unlike their his usual stars (the iceberg blondes mentioned before preeminently Grace Kelly). There is something inevitably bourgeois about Janet Leigh and Doris day--the members of the audience have no trouble identifying with them--and they are resoundingly tender, womanly, vulnerable and touching. Doris' work in this film makes one regret that she was never able to connect with directors like George Cukor, Vincente Minnelli, Billy Wilder, or George Stevens. These were men like Hitchcock, who had the sympathy and skill to bring out the facets of Doris day that would have broadened her scope and appeal as an actress. From her work in The Man Who Knew Too Much, it was indisputably evident that she had the raw materials with which to work."
Johnny

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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The website hitchcock.zone contains a chronology of Alfred Hitchcock's activities. Here are excerpts from 1955/56 about TMWKTM:

January '55: Work commences on the script.

February: "It now seems highly likely that Doris Day will play a lead role. Hitchcock and writer Angus MacPhail work on developing the character of Jo McKenna to make her a retired singer."

April 20: Hitchcock meets Doris Day.
April 23: Hitchcock leaves U.S. for London to scout locations.

June 2-4: Location filming at Edward Gerrard & Sons taxidermist at 61 College Place, Camden.
June 16: Location filming at St. Saviour's Church hall in Brixton Hill (Ambrose Chapel in the film)
June 17: Sequences filmed at Royal Albert Hall.

July: Filming is completed late in the month.

May 22, 56: Hitchcock attends premiere with Doris Day and James Stewart.

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Peter Flapper
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by Peter Flapper »

Hi Judy,

What a great find and so interesting to read. Thank you for sharing.

I sometimes wonder why Hitch didn't used Doris in one of his other pictures. But I have seen a lot, but not all, Doris was perfect as warm mother for the Jo Mckenna role. It this moment I can't name another one of his pictures suitable for her.

P

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Johnny
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by Johnny »

Thank you Musiclover for The Man Who Knew Too Much chronology. I was really surprised to see that the film was completed during the timeline from January 1955 to late July. I believe the film was released in June 1956.

I will check out the Hitchcock website. It sounds really interesting.
Johnny

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Hi Peter,

Good question Peter.

It seems Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren were his top blond choices for casting in his films.

Doris may have been suitable for roles in the Hitchcock films Rear Window , Marnie, Family' Plot or Torn Curtain.

I do think Doris would have been great in The Birds but I am sure her love of animals would have made her decline the role.

At the end of the day we know Doris preferred comedies although she she was an effective dramatic actress. With her stressful experiences working on Julie and Midnight Lace, many of the Hitchcock film roles would not be her preference.
Johnny

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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by jmichael »

Love seeing the timeline Judy provided. That is a great find.

I also love what Gelb wrote (thanks to Johnny for posting it) about Hitchcock's use of Doris in TMWKTM. His comments are spot-on in that she and Janet Leigh were warmer and more womanly than the "iceberg" blondes that Hitch seemed to favor. No matter what his personal shortcomings or peccadillos were, Hitchcock was a brilliant filmmaker who possessed conceptual vision and a powerful command of the technical aspects down to the last detail of story boarding every movement and camera angle. He wasn't shy about delving into the psychological aspects of his characters either, as evidenced in the timeline Judy provided wherein he made Jo McKenna a retired singer after Doris signed on. That made the marital tension resonate deeply with audiences and lent emotional weight to Doris' hysteria when Stewart tells her about the kidnapping.

Although Gelb doesn't consider Stanley Donen or Michael Curtiz in the same league as Hitchcock, they were supremely talented directors who elicited wonderful performances from Doris.

Responding to Peter's question and piggy-backing on what Johnny had to say - I could definitely see Doris playing the Joan Fontaine character in Suspicion or the Julie Andrews character in Torn Curtain. Not so sure about her playing the Grace Kelly role in Rear Window, who was very Park Avenue and Upper East Side. I have a similar issue imagining her in the Tippi Hedren role in The Birds because I don't see Doris playing a globe trotting socialite / party girl either. She might have been a convincing kleptomaniac in Marnie though and - horrors - I think she could have done wonders as the conflicted, tragic Marion Crane in Psycho. That would have been astonishing casting to say the least and probably won Doris a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.

Sadly, Hitchcock's last great film was The Birds and there weren't many roles after that were worthy of Doris' talent, certainly nothing that came close to what he accomplished in his heyday.

Michael
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by Jas1 »

Great observations all - I def could see Doris in Marnie - and she would have got to play with the hunk Connery - who she said in her last televised interview, she wanted to work with. Indeed, isn't there a story that initially Doris thought it was Connery who was scheduled for Caprice? 8)

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