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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956): The Scribbling Cut

The Scribbling Man

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This edit is complete. Latest details including cutlist can be found here.

Original Post:
This is a fanfix of Hitchock’s 1956 remake of “The Man Who Knew Too Much”.
 
I love this film and, personally, I don’t think it gets enough love. I do think it has a few flaws, however, some of which I have tried/am trying to rectify with this cut. 
 
These are the changes I initially set out to make to the film:
  • General trims for pacing (such as shortening some location/travel shots)
  • Alter the Taxidermist "comedy" sequence. The tone is weird and awkward here, and it goes on too long.
  • Keep the film chiefly (but not entirely) from the parent’s perspective, therefore eliminating several scenes that show where the boy is/is being taken. Scenes such as the kidnappers/boy within the church + travel from the church to the opera house slow the pacing down, contain some of the weaker acting moments and generally add little to the film. By keeping us in the dark during this phase of the plot, we are put in the shoes of the parents - Eg. we don't know if their son really is inside the church or not (until we hear him yell). When Jimmy Stewart is knocked out and wakes up - we don't know where he has been taken. IMO, this would create greater tension.
Note: I would still keep the scenes from the kidnappers/boys perspective during the "Que será, será" finale.


Now having taken a swing at it, I’ve also found myself making some slight trims to the Albert Hall sequence. Although I love it, I noticed there is a section of the piece that is precisely the same and repeats during the scene. During the first runthrough, mostly shots of the orchestra are shown, during the second, Jimmy arrives and the action picks up. What I have done is eliminate the repeated section, so that we only hear it once through, thereby making the scene a little under 70 seconds shorter. I then intercut the shots of the orchestra and the shots of action taking place. Shots were chiefly trimmed, a couple dropped, and as a result I think the pacing is much improved:

(edited section starts at 0:18 and ends at 1:41): 
Here also is my current version of the trimmed taxidermists sequence. This one is tricky, and I'm not wholly sure if what I've done works or not:
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I have a first draft of the full edit that I am yet to watch through in it’s entirety, but before I jump into version 2, it’d be great if anyone would be willing to feedback on the clips I've shared. 

Here is a complete cutlist of what’s currently been changed across the film:
  • Trimmed bus arriving into Morocco. No shots removed, simply shortened.
  • Trimmed coach arriving at hotel
  • Trimmed Morocco festivities
  • Trimmed plane arriving
  • Cut first shot of spy-organist
  • Cut second shot of spy-organist
  • Cut spy-organist in telephone booth (there’s some bad miming going on here)
  • Trimmed “comic relief” in Taxidermists:
  • Less antics (man doesn’t come and grab sword fish etc.)
  • Jimmy Stewart's hand is caught in Tigers jaw for less time.
  • Smoothed transitions between following shots: shot of men grabbing door as Jimmy leaves, Shot of lion, shot of lounge. This feels more natural as it syncs with the time of the music.
  • Reversed shot of woman walking upstairs, then cut straight to her walking into the meeting with the assassin. She does not ask to come in.
  • Cut “Music is less your forte than marksmanship” – a badly delivered and easily misinterpreted line. The putting down of the assassin gets a bit much as well.
  • Cut assassin saying “a very clever disguise, I must say”, so that he simply says: "a wolf in sheep's clothing".
  • Trimmed assassin leaving church
  • Cut kidnappers sneaking out building and driving away.
  • Cut kidnappers arriving at embassy.
  • Cut kafuffle in the kitchen and staff talking about the embassy being odd and secretive (this also means we don’t have the shot of the British agent shown to be undercover, but it has little relevance + we are shown him once again a little later)
  • To cover the above, we briefly cut away from Doris Day at Albert Hall (re-scored using music from scene of kidnappers arriving at embassy). She arrives and enters the building, we cut to Jimmy climbing the bell, and then we cut back to Doris inside the foyer and stay with her.
  • Cut 67 seconds from the Albert hall sequence, trimming shots (mostly Jimmy Stewart waiting around), but keeping as much as possible, while increasing the pace and sense of urgency.
  • Cut repeated shot of man falling down stairs

Original runtime: 120 mins
Current runtime: 113 mins
Time Cut: 7 mins
 

Jrzag42

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Title pending? Perfect, I love giving name suggestions.

"The Man Who Didn't Cut Too Much"
"The Man Who Knew Too Much [In Too Little Time]"
"Knowing Too Much in Too Little Time"
"The Man Who Knew Slightly Less"

I haven't seen the film, so all I have to work with is the original title and the change in runtime.

Bonus:
"The Scribbling Man Who Knew Too Much"
 

DigModiFicaTion

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How about The Man Who Knew Too Much A+ Edition
 

TM2YC

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jrWHAG42 said:
"The Man Who Knew Slightly Less"

Beautiful.

Taxidermy trim looks/sounds fine to me.
 

Jrzag42

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The Man Who Edited The Man Who Knew Too Much
 

DigModiFicaTion

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The orchestra one flowed great. The audio sounds like it may be clipping during the crescendos as I'm hearing some distortion throughout and I don't think they are plugged into an overdrive stompbox :) Did you possibly elongate the shot of Doris Day at 1:53? She seems to do a slight unnatural warble.

The taxidermy scene feels like a cut was made at 0:05, but it still feels like Hitchcock editing, so it works fine. I just rewatched the original scene and this cut definitely makes the scene more serious with the removal of the comedic taxidermists trying to save the taxidermied specimens.

Looking forward to this one!

How about "The Scribbling Man Who Knew Too Much"
 

The Scribbling Man

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Thanks for the feedback, guys! I really appreciate it.

Loving the plethora of title suggestions too - I'm spoilt for choice...

DigModiFicaTion said:
The orchestra one flowed great. The audio sounds like it may be clipping during the crescendos as I'm hearing some distortion throughout and I don't think they are plugged into an overdrive stompbox :) Did you possibly elongate the shot of Doris Day at 1:53? She seems to do a slight unnatural warble.

Any editing I did ends at 1:41 and the rest is there for context - so nothing has been done to that shot of Doris. I think that's how it is and she's just really trembling in her performance, but I will double check my timeline in case my finger slipped.

The audio does distort a bit, but I think that's on the original audio - it seems to sound similar when I do a quick compare with the original clip on YouTube, but once again I'll double check my timeline.

At the start of the section when Jimmy walks through the door it sounds to me like the audio has been stretched or something - drove me nuts until I actually compared it to the blu ray and it sounded precisely the same. Tis just an old film with old audio I guess!

The taxidermy scene feels like a cut was made at 0:05, but it still feels like Hitchcock editing, so it works fine. I just rewatched the original scene and this cut definitely makes the scene more serious with the removal of the comedic taxidermists trying to save the taxidermied specimens.

Thanks! Yes, I think the problem I had is that even in the original scene, the start of the music/wrestling is quite a jarring transition - so I wasn't sure how to make my cut any more convincing than the original. But if TM2YC thinks it's fine and you think it feels like a Hitchcock cut then maybe I'm OK...
 

The Scribbling Man

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Nothing is clipping on my timeline in the orchestra sequence and the level of distortion sounds the same to me when comparing with the blu ray. I've also checked the shot of Doris Day on my timeline and compared it with the original. Nothing's been changed.

An idea has occurred to me off the back of this though - this entire scene is purely music. All we hear is the orchestra until Doris Day screams. Given that the audio on this section tends to distort a bit, I'm wondering if it's worth replacing the audio with another recording. Currently all I'm aware of is this version, which sounds fine, but it also feels to me like it may be at a slightly slower tempo. Regardless, maybe it's worth giving a go?

I am hoping to watch through my draft of this either this afternoon or evening, so I can see where things are at. The two clips shared were my main concern though, so hopefully the rest flows well!
 

The Scribbling Man

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Annoyingly, 15 minutes into my draft the audio was out of sync - only for a minute mind, but it annoyed me enough to go back and fix it before watching any more... and since I was already in the editing room, I decided to have a go at incorporating the newer recording of Storm Cloud Contata for the Albert Hall sequence. I think it works well, so after I’ve done that I’ll render another draft and watch that through in full.

 It’s involving a fair bit of audio editing because the tempo of the version on the film is much less consistent than the newer version, but so far I've managed to get it in time and still sound natural (to my ears). I've done about half of that so far - when it's done it will be included as an alternate audio option, so people can still listen to that or the original audio, depending on their preference.

Also, interestingly, the re-recording does not include the section of music I removed from the scene in the film - which I assume means it wasn't meant to be there in the first place/part of the original piece; I guess it was probably edited to loop in order to fit the length of the visuals.
 

The Scribbling Man

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Just a short message to say that I haven't forgotten about this. In fact the edit has been finished for a while.... It's just that my computer is starting to pack it in and rendering/compressing has become a real pain. I will return to it (as well as other editing projects) once I've sorted out a replacement.
 

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Haven’t seen this movie for ages!
The clips looks awesome!

Title pending!
The Cut who Knew the Man Too Much :)
 

TM2YC

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"The Scribbling Man who knew how much to cut" ?
 

The Scribbling Man

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This has been in a near-finished state for ages due to busyness and lack of a functioning computer. Now I have a new laptop and a (bit) more time, so I've made some final tweaks and have rendered out what I hope is the final version. I just need to watch it through and check everything's ok.

It will come with two audio tracks. One with the original audio, and one with the opening music, Albert Hall sequence and outro music (reprise of the opening) all re-scored with the later re-recordings. I'll look to upload a clip of the trimmed and re-scored Albert Hall sequence - might make for a nice trailer equivelent. 

Would anyone be up for having a go at a poster? I need to decide on a title as well, come to think of it (spoilt for choice much?)...
 

The Scribbling Man

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 I watched through this earlier, using my housemate as a guineau pig. He didn't pick up on any cuts, and all the ones I could remember making felt fine for me (kinda nice to view it several months after the main chunk of editing). Unfortunately, there was a random audio pop during the Albert Hall sequence, so I need to go back and check where that's come from or if it's just a glitch from encoding. Frustrating, but at least I don't need to re-render the video.

If all goes well, I should have this up soon.
 

Malthus

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The Scribbling Man said:
Would anyone be up for having a go at a poster?

sreqvbJ.jpg


Black text version:
GLQlD6X.jpg

tXA3jMl.jpg


Black text version:
D7440YC.jpg

Original:
RwLnPkt.jpg
 

The Scribbling Man

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Awesome! Thanks so much for putting those together, @"Malthus". I was thinking about the title just last night and I've decided to keep things fairly simple, but I like your use of "Whatever will be, will be" - do you think there'd be room to place that somewhere as a tagline instead?

In regards to the title itself, I think I'm just going to call it "The Man Who Knew Too Much: The Scribbling Cut", but for the poster I think it would be cool to just display the original title, only with this added quirk:

THE SCRIBBLING MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH

So "Scribbling" would be crossed (or scribbled) out on the main title. Would you be happy to do that?

If you could also tweak the edit credit that's on the right side so that it's "the" Scribbling Man instead of "a", that'd be great :)
 

Malthus

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The Scribbling Man said:
Awesome! Thanks so much for putting those together, @"Malthus".

No worries, it was my pleasure. I'll PM you some variants and you can do with them as you see fit. Which colour font do you prefer for the title?
 

The Scribbling Man

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Malthus said:
The Scribbling Man said:
Awesome! Thanks so much for putting those together, @"Malthus".

No worries, it was my pleasure. I'll PM you some variants and you can do with them as you see fit. Which colour font do you prefer for the title?

Great! I like the blue :)
 

The Scribbling Man

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This has been submitted to IFDB. Thank you to everyone who's contributed :)

Here's the final poster:
OhjUWqh.jpg
Cutlist:

The Gist:

• Rescored opening, outro and Albert Hall scene (rescore and original audio both available)
• Removed superfluous shots/scenes that take us away from the parent’s perspective
• Toned down comic mishaps in Taxidermist scene
• Removed awkward dialogue
• Streamlined exposition
• Trimmed for pacing

Full Cutlist:

I sometimes forget to note down cuts, so this should be complete, but it's possible some trims here or there aren’t mentioned.

• 0:00:00 – Added FE Source warning
• 0:00:09 – Added FE Netflix logo
• 0:00:13 – Added Scribbling Man branding
• 0:00:34 – Rescored opening credits with cleaner recording of Herman’s “Prelude”
• 0:03:07 – Trimmed interior shot
• 0:03:14 – Trimmed exterior shot
• 0:05:38 – Cut awkward reaction to “The muslim faith allows for few accidents”. Now the Frenchman asks to sit down straight away.
• 0:07:32 - 0:07:54 – Trimmed bus arriving into Morocco. One shot removed, the rest simply shortened.
• 0:010:41 - 0:10:53 – Trimmed coach arriving at hotel
• 0:24:23 - 0:24:39 – Trimmed Morocco festivities
• 0:30:38 – Cut “Yes, of course…” after Husband-spy says “I think I’d better go with them”
• 0:35:49 – Cut shot of man on other end of line when father is threatened - now we simply hear the voice over the phone. The dialogue was trimmed to accommodate this.
• 0:47:56 – Trimmed plane arriving
• 0:048:38 – Cut first shot of spy-organist
• 0:48:56 – Cut second shot of spy-organist
• 0:49:05 – Cut third shot of spy-organist
• 0:49:19 – Cut spy-organist in telephone booth (there’s some bad miming going on here, and it’s entirely unnecessary visual exposition)
• 1:04:35 – Trimmed “comic relief” in Taxidermists. Less antics (man doesn’t come and grab sword fish, man with leopard just gets out the way, then steadies lion.)
• 1:04:44 – Jimmy Stewart’s hand is caught in Tigers jaw for less time.
• 1:04:49-1:04:50 – Smoothed transitions between following shots: shot of men grabbing door as Jimmy leaves, Shot of lion, shot of lounge. This feels more natural as it concurs with the time of the music.
• 1:08:29 – Mirrored shot of woman walking upstairs
• 1:08:37 – Then, following on from above, we cut straight to her walking into the meeting with the assassin. She does not ask to come in.
• 1:09:31 – Cut “Music is less in your line than marksmanship” – a badly delivered and easily misinterpreted line. The putting down of the assassin gets a bit much.
• 1:10:38 – Cut exposition (we can work out that they got the assassin from Marrakech. We see him in Marrakech and it’s mentioned later.
• 1:11:07 – Cut “a very clever disguise, I must say”, and trimmed how long spy-husband pauses for.
• 1:12:03 – Trimmed assassin leaving church
• 1:23:00 – Cut kidnappers sneaking out building and driving away.
• 1:23:21 – Cut kidnappers arriving at embassy, along with kitchen kafuffle and the staff talking about the embassy being odd and secretive (this also means we don’t have the shot of the British agent shown to be undercover, but it doesn’t really have much relevance anyway)
• To cover the above there is a slight re-ordering of scenes. Instead of going to Jimmy, we go to Doris arriving at Albert Hall (re-scored using music from scene of kidnappers arriving at embassy).
• 1:23:53 – After Doris arrives and enters the building, we briefly cut away to Jimmy climbing the bell…
• 1:24:22 – ...and then we cut back to Doris inside the foyer and stay with her.
• 1:26:45 – Re-scored Albert Hall sequence with cleaner recording. The tempo and feel is very different from the original recording, so there is A LOT of editing here to make the audio sync with the visuals.
• 1:32:07 – Due to trouble syncing, we briefly transition back to the original mono recording here, and then transition back again after the drum roll.
• 1:32:15 – From this point on, there’s lots of trimming to help increase the pacing as we get closer to the shooting. Approx. 67 seconds of audio from the Albert hall sequence were cut (literally, just an entire section that was repeated on the old recording, but isn’t there on the new), and shots were trimmed or removed to fit this (mostly Jimmy Stewart waiting around). I tried to keep as many shots as possible, while increasing the pace and sense of urgency.
• 1:36:05 – Cut baddy British dude awkwardly saying “I have to go now”. Now he just says “Excuse me”.
• 1:42:23 – Cut phone conversation with prime minister – now after calling up and Jimmy saying “Just tell him the woman that saved his life would like to speak with him”, we cut straight to the party at the Prime Ministers house (which also means we skip the exposition in the car on the way there).
• 1:51:44 – In the original film, Hitchcock loops the same shot of husband-spy falling down the stairs. It’s probably done to make it look like he falls down further, but it’s a pretty obvious and dated edit. Now the shot only appears once.
• 1:52:18 – Rescored outro music, which is a reprise of the opening piece

Other details:

Original Release Date: 1956
Original Running Time: 120
Fanedit Release Date: July 2020
Fanedit Running Time: 112
Time Cut: 8

HD

Brief Synopsis:
Part Special Project/part Fan-fix of a Hitchcock classic, this edit favours the parent's perspective with an aim to keep the audience just as much in the dark. Cuts and trims for pacing have been made with the modern viewer in mind, along with the removal of unnecessary exposition and awkward humour. The intro, outro and Albert Hall sequences have also been re-scored with more recent and polished recordings (original audio also included).  

Intention:
I had four main aims with this edit:

- Improve the pacing with a modern audience in mind.
- Keep things from the parent’s perspective wherever possible, without compromising on narrative. This way we are in their shoes, we are just as much in the dark, and more tension and uncertainty is created because we don’t know where or how the boy is.
- Tone down the comedy/antics during the Taxidermist scene
- Re-score some of the film with cleaner re-recordings that have since been made available.

The latter was an idea that came to me part way through editing. I noticed how horribly distorted the original audio was during some of the score’s crescendo’s, and I wanted to see if there was a cleaner recording that could be used to update it.

Additional Notes:
Two audio options are available. The default audio features re-scored versions of the intro, outro and Albert Hall Sequence. The second audio option is the original Mono.

Other Sources:
Visual:

-FE.org Netflix logo
-FE Source warning
-Scribbling Man branding

Audio:

-Medley: Cantata/The Storm Clouds - From "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (taken from "Bernard Herman Film Scores)
-The Man Who Knew Too Much - Prelude (The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra)

Special Thanks:
- My siblings and housemate, who agreed to be my guinea pigs and watch the edit prior to release.
- Malthus for poster art and tagline
- TM2YC and DigMod for feedback on clips
- Everyone who contributed to title brainstorming
- Hitchcock, for making such cracking films.
- Anyone else I may have forgotten!
 
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