I like the movies better. I know, I know - they have nothing to do with the actual book by G.K. Chesterton. Alfred Hitchcock simply owned the rights to the name. Funny how that goes...rights.
But, among the two movies, I would have to give it to the second one. It is simply a far superior film - in every sense of the word, “superior”. Even Hitchcock agreed, naturally, as he knew that the first film was made when he was but an amateur and the second was the work of someone far more seasoned in the art of movie making.
I can bet that the reason I like the second film so much is a bit different from the reason Hitchcock appreciated it more, though. And I don’t usually like to bet. It is a really bad habit.
My grandfather, who just passed away a few months ago, on my twenty fifth birthday coincidentally (if you are one who believes in silly things like coincidences, that is) was one of the most influential figures in the construction of my general outlook towards life. I would probably not still be writing these reviews if it weren’t for the way in which he molded me into the man that sits before his typewriter right now. That is a certifiable fact.
He was a huge fan of the movies, particularly those of the generation in which he made his bones (so to speak) - the 1950s. He was also a huge fan of mysteries. More than anything, though, he was a huge fan of beautiful women. So, it would stand to reason, then, that he would be a huge fan of the 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, a mystery featuring Doris Day in her prime.
And he was - particularly of Doris Day’s performance of the song “Que Sera, Sera”, which was essentially his life motto. Indeed, we would end each and every conversation we had with a cheeky recitation of the song’s lyrics, in some sort of knowing nod to the wheels of fate, which him and I both firmly believed had nothing to do with any sort of control we attempted to exert.
Below I shall reprint some of the lyrics, for reference:
“When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, "What will I be?
Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?"
Here's what she said to me:
Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be”