Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

04 March 2008

The Man Who Knew Too Much, dir. Alfred Hitchcock (1934)

NIKKI says:
Talk about out of my comfort zone. As soon as this one started, I was forced to dig right down deep in my movie-lovers heart of hearts and repeat: This is the history of cinema. Without this, we would have no Breakfast Club. So, clear your mind of old-age prejudice, and revel in history in the making.

Turns out, I needn't have been quite so dramatic. After the clay shooting and skiing ended (both scenes required the most rudimentary of "special" effects), the film felt like any other black and white piece, and so I could sit back and enjoy.

Unreal, really, that movies were this edgy way back in the 1930s. That's a lessons I'm still learning, that innuendo and sharp wit are nothing new in film. Filmmakers and screenwriters, I should know by now, have always been slightly ahead of the times (artists often are, right?). It's something that makes films of this vintage so much more enjoyable for me, that I can sit back and witness the development of modern screenwriting and character creation. I should be less shocked, too, from now on, when I see a film like this one and think how far the medium came in such a short time.

Though the film has its faults -- Peter Lorre's character is revealed, in my opinion, slightly late, and the gun battle at the end is tedious to say the least -- it still manages to compel. Just what is going to happen to the daughter, and to what lengths will Leslie Mann go to get her back? The everyman protagonist trapped in a big intrigue-ridden chase is common in Hitchcock's films now that I think about it, and Mann's struggle is among the more interestingly played out. There's a particularly fascinating exchange at an opera show that will remain with me as something quite ingenious.

There are no real surprises here as far as the plot. but it's nonetheless an interesting film, as much for it's place in film history as much as anything else. Watching Peter Lorre skulk around, smoke-in-mouth reminds, too, that movie stars are just made differently these days. More's the pity.


No comments: