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Last week, I wrote about my birthday tea party featuring Afternoon Tea from the London Tea Room. Tina enjoyed the Irish settings in Normal People by Sally Rooney. Jean was led to The Luck of the Vails by E. F. Benson by a character in one of E. Nesbit’s stories, The Enchanted Castle. She also read The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell, which is what it says it is — diary entries from 2014 about the daily goings-on at The Book Shop in Wigtown, Scotland.
Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock made two films titled The Man Who Knew Too Much? It is a good title.
Rick wanted to see the film where Doris Day sang “Que Sera, Sera.” I wanted to see the film with the famous scene in Royal Albert Hall.Neither of those are in the 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, which we own on DVD as part of a collection of early Hitchcock films. We only watched about ten minutes before we were convinced that Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day weren’t going to show up — and would have been far too young to play parents in a film this old.
Fortunately, we were able to rent the DVD of the 1956 version from Netflix.
Neither of these films make anyone’s top 10 list of Hitchcock films, but we did enjoy the 1956 version for the very reasons that we wanted to watch it.
The film starts in Morocco. Dr. Benjamin McKenna, takes a break from his busy practice in Indiana to bring his wife, Jo (known as Jo Conway from the singing career that she had before marriage) and their son Hank to Casablanca and Marrakesh. They meet intriguing and mysterious characters from a variety of internationalities.
The second half of the film is in London — no plot spoilers as to why. I enjoyed the bits of the plot that intersect with the London theater scene, due to Jo’s previous career. The scene in Royal Albert Hall is a feast for eyes and ears, which is why I remembered it. I suspect that I saw this film once in a classic film festival in college, but that scene stuck.The song “Que Sera, Sera” was first published the year before, but was made a hit by Doris Day’s performance in the film. It reached #2 in the US and #1 in the UK in 1956. The song also won the Academy Award for best song that year.
I just learned that “Que sera, sera” is ungrammatical in Spanish. Heh.
Weirdly, the phrase in both incorrect Spanish and incorrect Italian has been used in England for centuries. In the 1500s, it appeared on plaques and engravings, sometimes as the motto of a family herald. Later, the phrase appeared in literature, including the play Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlow.
I suppose that I should start saying it in English. “Whatever will be, will be” is my favorite way to remind myself that I can’t plan and control everything. There are moments in life when the best choice for mental health is to just wait and see.
My Facebook friends all know this, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on my blog. We needed the “whatever will be, will be” mentality this spring because Rick has (had?) prostate cancer. He’s recovering well from surgery. We’re a few months away from knowing whether more treatment will be required.
Have you seen The Man Who Knew Too Much? What did you think?