The first of the thrillers Hitchcock made for Gaumont-British in the '30s, The Man Who Knew Too Much was later subject to a Hollywood remake by the same director. The rarely screened original, here in a new print, begins in St Moritz, where holiday-makers Bob and Jill (Banks and Best) unwittingly become involved in an assassination plot. To ensure their silence, the sinister Abbot (Lorre) kidnaps their daughter Jill (Pilbeam)...
Making marvellous use of settings and locations, Hitchcock treats the viewer to superbly choreographed set-pieces, culminating in an East End gun battle between police and villains. There's also a rich strain of farcical humour, as well as a deft exploration of key Hitchcockian themes - an innocent individual whose ordered world is plunged into chaos, a family jeopardised by an outsider... Hitch described it as the work of a `talented amateur'. Some amateur.