The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Johnny
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by Johnny »

In David Kaufman's book on Doris there are some excellent insights from Doris while working on The Man Who Knew Too Much:

"Doris became quite blunt with another reporter when she described seeing herself in the picture. " In some of the terror scenes I look just awful. My mouth was crooked, my hair was all mussed, my eyes were swollen, my dress was like a sack. If I had seen the rushes of that, -- well, I'll tell you one thing. I'd have marched into Hitchcock and told him that he was ruining me". " Day explained that she understood her character was "supposed to look awful_...But me personally I don't like seeing myself looking like that. As I say , if I had seen the rushes, the next time we played such a scene I'd have settled my dress, combed my hair and kept my mouth straight. Consciously or subconsciously I'd be trying to make me, Doris Day, look pretty instead of making that woman look real". Day continued , inadvertently referring to Method acting again. "So I don't look at the rushes. As long as it's a picture about that woman, I keep myself out of it."


In a related comment, Hollywood's legendary costume designer Edith Head complimented Day for having "a natural flair for style" and being the "easiest star" she had ever worked with-- all the more impressive considering that, during her extensive reign in Hollywood , Head had worked with practically every one of the great stars. "But designing her costumes for "The Man Who Knew Too Much" was difficult. I had to make her reasonably drab, and it was hard work added Head, describing a costumer's typical lament.

But both Hitchcock and Head knew exactly what they were doing with Day. As Paramount executive Don Hartman wrote to fellow executive Russell Holman in a telegram of October 11, 1955: " Ran The Man Who Knew Too Much " today in rough form without dubbing and scoring and think it is one of Hitchcock's and Jimmy Stewart's best pictures. Doris Day is every bit as good as in "Live Me or Leave Me", ...I prophecy now with safety that this is another in the long list of Paramount smash hits".


Edith Head's comments is another testimonial on the ease in working with Doris and must be added to a long list of Doris' cast and crew in numerous films. This speaks to Doris' professionalism and her personal character.
Johnny

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jmichael
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Quite a contrast to Kim Novak who objected to the similar gray suit she wore in Vertigo. Novak went to Hitchcock in protest but he held film because his vision of the film was detailed and non-negotiable.

I love how Doris described her reaction to seeing herself onscreen. She's right - the actor has to separate from the character and she was wise to avoid watching the rushes. She says "that woman" and "I keep myself out of it." I love that. It was very shrewd on her part.

Johnny, thanks for posting so many fascinating stories about her films. These are great fun to discuss.

Michael
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"There's nothing in my bedroom that bothers me."

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Johnny
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Thanks Michael!

I have found Doris Day endlessly fascinating on so many fronts. As I have posted before, Doris Day songs and films were always part of my childhood. My very first trip to the movies was seeing On Moonlight Bay. I definitely identified with Wesley (Billy Gray), but Doris‘ smile and voice made an indelible impression on me. When I saw Calamity Jane I remember my dad saying Doris was a really beautiful and talented girl .

As a teen I became interested in film reviews and took notice of how Doris was criticized in Do Not Disturb. Always being a advocate for the underdog, (which directed me into the field of social work), I took umbrage with the criticism of Doris but not necessarily the film. Doris never gave a poor performance.

Reading Doris Day: Her Own Story, increased my interest
further. I was so impressed with her ability to overcome some many hurtful situations and her work in animal advocacy. It occurred to me that she had a really well developed sense of spiritual consciousness that helped her not succumb to bitterness and blame. She channeled her energy into positive endeavours. I loved her humility and kind nature.

Over the years Doris’ music has soothed difficult times.
I treasure her music and films and writing about her gives me great happiness. Like all the people we loved who have passed on and we remember with affection, I believe Doris Day should not be forgotten as an artist and as a person.

I am so thankful we have the Doris Day Forum to celebrate her life and memory. I love reading forum members posts and seeing Doris photos. It is clear Doris has played important role for everyone.

Again it is important to sincerely thank Bryan for continuing to keep this valuable forum going for Doris and for us. It is deeply appreciated.
Johnny

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Peter Flapper
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Unread post by Peter Flapper »

Hi Johnny,

Great posts Johnny, all thoughfully researched and narrated by you.
A Job very well done. Hope you will continue for a long long time.
Thank you so much for doing this priceless topics.

P

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Johnny
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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In David Kaufman's book on Doris Day there is an interesting passage on Alfred Hitchcock choosing Doris for the lead in The Man Who Knew Too Much.

"Given his notorious obsession with "cool" blondes Day was a surprising choice for Hitchcock. Though blonde, she was far from cool. The director shrewdly understood however , that Day's innocent image also made her ideal for playing a mother and a wife in peril. Shrewd too to have chosen Day to play opposite Jimmy Stewart, who had already been cast. The personification of small town civic virtue, Stewart was the male equivalent of Day. After she first met him at a party given by Alan Ladd and his wife , Day told Melcher how much she liked the all -American film star, and, moreover hoped to make a picture with him. Having been likened to Huckleberry Finn in the beginning of her film career because of her freckles , Day was now finding her Tom Sawyer in Stewart."

Two pieces of trivia:

The title into Thin Air was considered for the film.


The child actor Chris Olson who played the son Hank also was Doris' son in I'll See You in My Dreams.
Johnny

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Johnny
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Re: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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New York Times Review of:

The Man Who Knew Too Much
by Bosley Crowther - May 17-1956

Alfred Hitchcock has shamelessly reverted to an old story and the cinematic style that made him famous in the Thirties with his new film, "The Man Who Knew Too Much". Yet those who recall his early pictures made in England --including the one that had the same theme and tag as this one -- will not be distressed by this news. For Mr. Hitchcock contrived some lively thrillers with his formula of mystery and suspense, and h made international intrigue popular when it was getting an evil name. He virtually educated critics in the techniques and refinements of the "chase". So it shouldn't distress her ardent public to learn he has cleverly combined his old style and modern screen processes of Vista Vision and colour in his new picture, which is at the Paramount. The story is lean and fluid. An American family -father, mother, young son--are sightseeing in Marrakesh, Morocco,(this is where the scenic stuff comes in), when suddenly a Frenchman is murdered in cold blood before their eyes. Dying the Frenchman whispers a cryptic message to the man, who happens to be a doctor. This makes him the man who knows too much. That's the beginning of the mystery. The "chase" follows close on its' heels when the son is kidnapped by a British couple who pretend to be traveling friends. And the suspense is henceforth accumulated as the father and mother fly to London to seek their son, who they realize is being held hostage to keep the father from revealing what he knows. We wouldn't dare tell you what follows in the way of an international plot to assassinate a foreign prime minister at a symphony -choral concert at Albert Hall.And we wouldn't even tell you the import of the knowledge the father has. Suffice to say, Mr. Hitchcock spins a fast talethat sweeps incongruously through a taxidermist"a shop , a cultist chapel, a foreign embassy and the crowded concert hall.Fasr, did we say? It better had be,for the story that John Michael Hayes has revamped from the original script of Charles Bennett and D.B. Wyndham -Lewis is quite absurd, and it would be death to leave the audience a moment to stop and think. But logic and credibility were never Mr. Hitchcock 's long suits. He depends on daring deception.Wnd that is what he has in this film. James Stewart tops his job in "Rear Window" as the man who knows too much, and Doris Day is surprisingly effective as the mother who is frantic about her child. She also has a dandy sequence in which she signals the boy with a song. Bernard Miles and Brenda de Banzie are properly creepy as the British couple who snatch the boy. Christopher Olsen is good as the latter and Reggie Nadler merits a shriek as the man with the gun. Even in mammoth Vista Vision, the old Hitchcock thriller-stuff has punch.



Additional Note:

In 2019 The Man Who Knew Too Much was released for a week in Toronto theaters.We took some younger family members who were totally engrossed with the story. They were really impressed with the dynamic performances of James Stewart and Doris Day.

I have always believed that both Doris Day and James Stewart deserved Academy Award nominations for their outstanding work in this classic film.
Johnny

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