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#064. Men and Knowledge

Ignorance is bliss. However, knowledge is power. While knowledge can get you far in this life, being ignorant can sometimes come in handy when it comes to the difficult aspects. How often have you caught yourself saying, “I wish I didn’t know that”? By the same credence, when do you wonder, “Why did’t I know that?” Which one do you more frequently ask? With the vast resource of the internet at our fingertips, those who didn’t know much now have access to learn to their heart’s content. But knowing information is useless without application. Sure, you may know every line from your favorite movie, but when would that come in handy? Oftentimes knowledge is directly linked to money, which is not only why quiz shows exist, but also why private investigators are paid so well. At any rate, knowledge does not necessarily mean intelligence, it just means you know something. This week’s two films highlight a man who knows too much and a man who doesn’t.

The Man Who Knew Too Much                                               The Man Who Knew Too Much
Year: 1956
Rating: PG
Length: 120 minutes / 2 hours

One doesn’t earn the title of “Doctor” without having to learn a thing or two. It takes years of study and research as well as being able to know your topic inside and out in order to defend it when your thesis goes up for review. This knowledge aside, what would you do with a piece of information that could save someone’s life? What if that information could result in someone’s death? You obviously can’t keep this information to yourself, so who do you give this knowledge to? If the police won’t help you, do you have to take this knowledge and act upon it? All of these are questions that are asked in the Alfred Hitchcock remake, The Man Who Knew Too Much. Even to the point: Alfred Hitchcock made the original in 1934, so he definitely gained some knowledge about film-making when he made it again in the 50’s.

Dr. Ben McKenna (James Stewart), his wife Josephine (Doris Day) and their son Hank (Christopher Olsen) are on a vacation in Morocco. While they are enjoying the sights, they become acquainted with a Frenchman by the name of Louis Bernard (Daniel Gelin). Louis knows something important and is just able to pass that information on to Ben before he dies from a stab wound to the back. Ben decides to take this information to the proper authorities and alerts Scotland Yard that an assassination of a high profile political figure is about to go down in London. Unfortunately, those planning the assassination gain information that leads them to Ben and his family as the ones who have alerted the authorities of their plot. In retaliation, they capture Hank, and the only way Ben and Jo can get him back is if he can recognize a song that his mother sings and successfully escape.

The Man Who Knew Too LittleThe Man Who Knew Too Little
Year: 1997
Rating: PG
Length: 94 minutes / 1.56 hours

There is a concept in movies known as “suspension of disbelief”. This concept states that in order to enjoy a story that would obviously never work in the real world, due to frequent coincidences, impossible physics, or irrational behaviors, a viewer needs to just suspend their thoughts on reality long enough so that they can get the full effect of the film. Certain situations that we would never allow in real life are somehow accepted when we enter a “suspension of disbelief”. Unfortunately, when we carry that concept over into real life, it can get us into trouble. Our natural responses become useless when we don’t realize the ridiculous nature of our situation. As was mentioned earlier in this post, “ignorance is bliss”. However, that ignorance needs to be paired with a strong streak of luck in order for someone to truly survive.

Wallace Ritchie (Bill Murray) is on vacation from America in order to visit his brother James (Peter Gallagher) in London. What is the occasion, you may ask? It’s Wallace’s birthday, and unfortunately James doesn’t have time to celebrate. But, what luck! James sees a commercial for an immersive theater group and figures that it’s just the thing that Wallace would like to do, while also getting him out of the house. However, Wallace accidentally walks in on a real crime in progress, thinking it’s the theater group. As he gets deeper into an assassination plot, he continues to believe that it’s all an act, an elaborate hoax to entertain him for an evening. With the danger as real as it is, Wallace’s ignorance makes him come off as a super-spy while not being anywhere close to the real thing.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 men who do(n’t) know things


3 responses to “#064. Men and Knowledge

  1. Pingback: End of Act Two | Cinema Connections

  2. Pingback: #092. Alfred Hitchcock | Cinema Connections

  3. Pingback: #119. Cecil B. DeMille | Cinema Connections

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