Reel and Retro

Presenting the Past

The Man Who Knew Too Much – 1956

Our April, 2020, Immortal Idol, Ms. Doris Day delivers a stellar performance as Josephine Conway, ‘Jo’ McKenna, wife of Dr. Ben McKenna, played by the amazing James Stewart, in this Alfred Hitchcock suspense. 

It was a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1934 movie with the same title, but different plot and script. It’s the only film Hitchcock did a remake of.

For years, it was nearly impossible to see The Man Who Knew Too Much—or Rear WindowRope, Vertigo, or The Trouble with Harry. And it was actually the director’s fault. Hitchcock bought back the rights to these films, giving him exclusive control over their distribution. He apparently did this for his daughter, believing the rights to these movies would grow more valuable over time. While they were locked away, the films were referred to as the “five lost Hitchcocks.” They were eventually emancipated in 1983 after a nearly 30-year absence.


As he does in all of his films. However, in ‘The man who knew too much,’ the director is visible for only a few seconds in the Marrakesh marketplace as he keeps his back turned the entire time.

Note Worthy

Dr. and Mrs. McKenna’s 7 year old son has been kidnapped in Morocco. On a mad quest to find him, beautiful cinematography captures empty streets in London. And, during a reception at the embassy, ‘Jo’ (Doris Day) sings a song in hopes her son will hear it, debuting her famous:


Ironically, Ms. Day maintained it wasn’t one of her favorites.


The Man Who Knew Too Much

She even pulled rank for the first time in her film career when it came to the care and treatment of animals:

I said that I would not appear in any scenes with animals unless they were properly fed. As a result, the company set up a feeding station where all the goats, lambs, horses, cows, dogs, cats, burros and other animals were brought to be fed. I couldn’t provide for the feeding of the entire undernourished population of Marrakesh, but by the time our photography was finished I had succeeded in fattening up the animals used in the picture.”
– Doris Day, Her Own Story   Google:

Dr. Ben McKenna (James Stewart) is on vacation with his wife (Doris Day) and son in Morocco when a chance encounter with a stranger sets their trip, and their lives, on a drastically different course. The stranger, killed in front of the family in the marketplace, reveals an assassination plot to the Americans. The couple’s son is abducted in order to ensure the plot is kept secret, and suddenly the mother and father, with no help from the police, must figure out a way to get their child back.
Release dateJune 1, 1956 (USA)
Box office11.3 million USD




I have two options for you to consider. The first is the individual movie:

and the second is a Doris Day collection that offers this title within it.

I recommend the second one. It’s more affordable and there are some great titles in it, if you don’t already own them.


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Stay Fabulous, Darling!

Ms. Ericka


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