Why Alfred Hitchcock Is Remaking 'The Man Who Knew Too Much'
Alfred Hitchcock's film catalog is full of classics such as Vertigo and Psycho, but why did he remake his own film "The Man Who Knows Too Much"?
Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knows Too Much was one of his most successful UK productions, so why did he choose to release it 22 years later? Remake of this suspenseful thriller from 1934? The original, one of Hitchcock's first sound films, won rave reviews from critics and performed extremely well at the box office. Considering how few mistakes he made as a director, Hitchcock's 1956 remake of "The Man Who Knows Well" was his only remake.
The original The Man Who Know Too Much, starring Leslie Banks and Peter Lorre, was well ahead of its time in the 1930s, previewing the politically charged crime film that would define much of Hitchcock's career. It was one of the first films that allowed him to push the boundaries of cinematic storytelling, especially in the burgeoning sound film market. In addition to presenting one of Hitchcock's most suspenseful scenes, the 1956 remake featured major changes to the plot and story, with more polished visuals and more in line with Hollywood productions of the time.
Hitchcock Was Contractually Obligated To Make A Movie For Paramount
Between 1954 and 1958, Alfred Hitchcock directed five films at Paramount Pictures, each of which was Under contractual obligations, this meant he was not allowed to work anywhere else. The first co-production was 1954's Rear Window, later considered one of Hitchcock's best films of all time. He followed that up with Catch a Thief and The Trouble with Harry in 1955, marking Hitchcock's banner year as a Hollywood director. Although Hitchcock never won an Oscar for his stellar work in the 1950s, it was this era that really elevated him to the role of director behind the camera.
Still contractually obligated to Paramount, Hitchcock decided to remake The Man Who Knows Well, as it would satisfy his debt to the studio. Furthermore, as revealed in the book "Hitchcock/Truffaut," the famed director has had the idea of remaking the film ever since he came to America. After a steady stream of cuts from 1954 to 1956, The Man Who Knew Too Much and his next film, 1958's Vertigo, marked the end of Paramount's roses. The 1960 film Psycho was financed entirely by Hitchcock himself, with Paramount only involved as a reluctant distributor for the director's Dark Vision.
Hitchcock Didn't Like The Original Man Who Knew Too Much
similar to Today's highest-grossing director, Alfred Hitchcock was a certified hit director for much of his long career. It is for this reason that the 1934 edition of The Man Who Knew Too Much was such a success in Britain that it remains critically acclaimed today. However, the "Master of Suspense" wasn't happy with his work in hindsight, which is the main reason he chose to remake "The Man Who Knows Well" rather than any of the other earlier films. In Truffaut's book, Hitchcock explains that his work on the original was amateurish and that the remake better reflects his directorial talents.