Last night I spoke of 1934’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much”, directed by Alfred Hitchcock when he lived in Britain who then remade the film in 1956 in America, also named “The Man Who Knew Too Much”. Hitchcock first considered an American remake of “The Man Who Knew Too Much” in 1941, but only brought back the idea in 1956. The reason why was Hitchcock had to make a film that would fulfill a contractual demand from Paramount Pictures who agreed it was a picture that could be well-adapted to the new decade. This led to a rather crazy screenwriting process.
Screenwriter John Michael Hayes was hired to write the remake on the condition that he would not watch the early version or read its script, with all the plot details coming from a briefing with Hitchcock. Only the opening scenes of the script were ready when filming begun. Hayes had to send by airmail the subsequent script pages as he finished them. However, the cast was also part of a challenge.
The film started its principal photography on location in Marrakesh, where the schedule had to be changed so the Marrakesh shoot did not coincide with Ramadan. Actress Doris Day, who played the lead character Josephine Conway “Jo” McKenna, was shocked by the health of the local animals, prompting her to only accept filming once the studio set up an animal-feeding station in Marrakesh. Even with this difficulty, Day ended up being the greatest benefit for the film and it was based on an irony.
Hitchcock himself requested blonde Doris Day for the main female role as he liked her performance in the 1951 American Film Noir thriller “Storm Warning”, though associate producer Herbert Coleman was reluctant on Day, whom he only knew as a singer. And wouldn’t you know it, that character trait benefited Day as the song she sang in the film, “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)”, won the Academy Award for Best Song that went to composer Jay Livingston and lyricist Ray Evans, a songwriting team.