We continue our survey of the twenty greatest movies of the 1950s.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1940s, click here.
For a listing of the greatest movies of the 20s and 30s click here.
16. The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1956
In François Truffaut’s 1967 ground-breaking interview with Alfred Hitchcock, on Hitch’s remake of his own 1934 production of The Man Who Knew Too Much, Hitchcock stated: “Let’s say the first version is the work of a talented amateur and the second was made by a professional.”
The original version races along at 75 minutes, a breathless pace. The film is completely dominated by Peter Lorre’s performance as the charming but creepy antagonist. In spite of the deadly serious plot, the 1934 version is leavened with lighter, almost comical moments, which, for some viewers, seem at odds with the general tone of the film. The British film stars Leslie Banks and Edna Best, and though they are competent performers, they fail to register onscreen as protagonists with whom an audience can easily identify.