The Man Who Knew Too Much
A climactic cymbal crash is meant to shroud an assassin's gunshot in Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 The Man Who Knew Too Much, but Dr. Ben McKenna (James Stewart), his suspicious show-biz wife (Doris Day), and their meddling kid Hank (Christopher Olsen) ruin all their evil plans--and we know who they are. Or do we? OK, it's Ed and Lucy Drayton (Bernard Miles and Brenda De Banzie). If their reasons for plotting to kill the prime minister never become quite clear, it's enough to know that they'll stop at nothing--nothing!--to carry out the plot. Hitchcock's sure camerawork creates the cinematic language we all take for granted today, such as the overhead shot of the Ambrose Chapel with Jo McKenna in front and Ben in the back. The script holds its suspense better than most movies of the era (and of today), and the pacing feels brisk even now, so if Day's "Que Sera, Sera" rings out a few too many times, that's a price worth paying.