THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1934)

Get a rare look at one of Alfred Hitchcock’s earliest films in its original form. Because its original copyright holders let if fall into the public domain, this suspense classic has mostly been screened in poorly edited, damaged prints. Hitchcock first came up with the story of an everyday couple whose child is kidnapped by anarchists while on his honeymoon with Alma Reville. After two flops in a row, he took it to a friend who had taken over Gaumont studios. The result put him back on top. What helped tremendously was the lighter-than-air quality he gave the otherwise grim story. The leads, Leslie Banks and Edna Best, share sophisticated banter throughout, while villain Peter Lorre seems like an overgrown child turning to evil because it’s fun. In his first English-language film, Lorre made a big impression, although he learned his lines phonetically. The film’s big set piece occurs in Albert Hall, where a noisy classical piece (in a film with no background score) will mask an assassination. Composer Bernard Herrmann liked Arthur Benjamin’s “Storm Cloud Cantata” so much that he used it in Hitchcock’s 1956 remake rather than write a new piece. Nitrate projection made possible through support of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Turner Classic Movies, and The Film Foundation in partnership with the American Cinematheque and the Academy Film Archive. Print Courtesy of The George Eastman House. (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 75m, Nitrate)

In attendance: MARTIN SCORSESE, DEBORAH STOIBER