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Hitchcock and the Censors$
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John Billheimer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813177427

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813177427.001.0001

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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Chapter:
(p.210) 28 The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Source:
Hitchcock and the Censors
Author(s):

John Billheimer

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813177427.003.0029

The remake of Hitchcock’s 1934 film retained the title and certain key elements of the original, in which the child of a vacationing couple is kidnapped, including the climactic assassination attempt in Albert Hall. But the details of the story changed a great deal. The vacationing couple is American, not English, the kidnapped child is a boy, not a girl, and the wife, played by Doris Day, is a retired musical star rather than an expert marksman. The Production Code office, which had excised five minutes of a climactic gun battle from the original, had relatively few objections to the remake. Censors objected to the kidnapping of a young child, the suggestion that the child’s life might be in danger, and wanted to make it clear that the villain was only ‘posing’ as a minister, not actually a man of the cloth. Hitchcock easily accommodated these suggestions by raising the age of the child to eight and adjusting a few bits of dialogue, reflecting both the gradual weakening of the Code and the director’s increasing skill in dealing with censorship.

Keywords:   Alfred Hitchcock, Doris Day, child kidnapping, respect for religions, Production Code Administration, The Man Who Knew Too Much

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