The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar:
The Man Who Knew Too Much

Hitchcock: Espionage!
Tuesday, July 30, 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm  
Instructor: Jennifer Fleeger, Ph.D., Ursinus College

The musical centerpiece of Hitchcock’s remake of his own movie is not a song performed by its star, Doris Day, but a 12-minute wordless sequence set in the Royal Albert Hall in which composer Bernard Herrmann conducts the London Symphony Orchestra, a massive chorus, and a single, very patient cymbalist. This scene, an editorial masterpiece of rising tensions, is but one of many bold directorial decisions that make this quirky film a classic. Our seminar delves into some of these choices, from the casting of Doris Day and the meaning of her “Que Sera, Sera” song for the movie’s themes, to the value of James Stewart as a Hitchcockian hero, to the symbolic significance of setting the film in Marrakesh and London. 

In addition to exploring the differences between the director’s versions of the “same” story, we’ll look at stylistic differences between the film’s two halves and compare its two prominent musical styles to uncover what these oppositions say about Hitchcock’s relationship to place. We’ll also unpack the way Herrmann’s scores for Hitchcock’s films convey the emotional instability typically suffered by his characters and interpret Doris Day’s infamous scream from a feminist perspective. Ultimately, we’ll discover that  The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) is a film as much about competing cultural values in the 1950s as it is a delightfully suspenseful story.  

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.

Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.


Course Information

$25 for members, $35 for non-members


  • Tuesday, July 30 · 6:30 pm