Despite the child kidnapping, assassination plot, and relatively high body count, The Man Who Knew Too Much primarily plays like a comedy. Director Alfred Hitchcock, who would remake the movie in 1956 with James Stewart, invests each scene with a blithe sense of fun. When a British couple (Leslie Banks and Edna Best) get caught up in spy games while vacationing in Switzerland, resulting in the kidnapping of their daughter (Nova Pilbeam), they’re forced to try their own hand at espionage in order to get her back. Banks, as the father, does this with a witty sense of humor, politely chatting away whether he’s fending off a nefarious dentist (a scene that will give odontophobics the shivers) or taking on a room full of goons in a fight that mostly involves the tossing back and forth of wooden chairs. Peter Lorre—complete with a white stripe down the middle of his hair, so that he looks like a squat skunk—gets in on the goofiness as well, hamming it up as sniveling secret agent. There is also a hypnotism sequence that presages Vertigo in its use of close-ups, dissolves, and camera movement. It all makes The Man Who Knew Too Much a bit of a baffling experience, but I fell under its spell.