Decoding The Man Who Knew Too Much

The Spy Command teamed up with The Spy Movie Navigator for a podcast to decode the 1934 and 1956 versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Director Alfred Hitchcock did his first version of the story fairly early in his career, and early in the sound era of motion pictures.

Hitchcock returned to the tale in the 1950s, now a major director. The 1956 version had James Stewart and Doris Day as stars. Hitchcock also had composer Bernard Herrman and writer John Michael Hayes, who had penned a number of Hitchcock scripts in the 1950s, along for the ride.

The podcast examining all this runs for about 90 minutes. It can be found here:

Website link: https://spymovienavigator.com/podcast/the-man-who-knew-too-much/

Apple: https://apple.co/3AOBaKm

Overcast: https://overcast.fm/+Spu89lNLg

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3ghbw7U

Castbox: https://bit.ly/3s6Nimi

Podcast Addict: https://podcastaddict.com/episode/134824797

Financial behind the scenes of Dr. No Part I

Dr. No poster

Dr. No poster

Adapted from a 2016 post.

Squabbles over money, production delays and the exchange of terse words.

SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film? Or No Time to Die, the 25th?

No. Dr. No, the first.

In 2011, Film Finances Inc., which specializes in “completion bonds” that ensure movies get finished, published A Bond for Bond. The book presented the company’s history with Dr. No, including reproducing memos and production budgets.

For a fee, Film Finances, founded in 1950, guarantees completion of a movie, including providing contingency financing. With Dr. No, Film Financsz ended up taking financial control of the film as principal photography ended and post-production began. That meant all expenditures from that point forward had to be approved by Film Finances.

According to the book, written by Charles Drazin and reprinted in 2014, Film Finances had previously provided completion bonds to earlier movies produced separately by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. While the new partners had a distribution deal with United Artists, Film Finances would provide the completion bond for the first film Bond.

As Film Finances considered the project, executives were enthusiastic but had concerns.

A Dec. 16, 1961 memo analyzing the movie’s budget questioned whether shooting schedule was too optimistic and whether director Terence Young could meet it.

John Croydon, a consultant for Film Finances, wrote, “I must confess to alarm at the combination of Broccoli, Saltzmann (sic) and Young in charge of the picture, especially as (L.C.) Rudkin, although a good PM (production manager) is probably not the strongest controller of people of this type.”

Croydon wrote from first-hand experience. He had been associate producer on the 1960 Saltzman-produced film The Entertainer.

Dr. No had an initial budget of 317,399 pounds (almost $889,000 at an exchange rate of $2.80 per pound), later revised to 322,096 (almost $901,800), with 23,199 pounds in contingency funds.

Various crew members, including Young and production designer Ken Adam, wrote brief letters to Film Finances saying the budget was adequate for the movie. Harry Saltzman wrote a similar but more detailed letter.

Young was slated to receive a fee of 15,000 pounds ($42,000), but agreed to defer 10,000 pounds of it into an escrow account. This would cause tension later.

The pre-production documents in A Bond for Bond also show the distinguished British director of photography Geoffrey Unsworth worked on Dr. No for a day. On Dec. 21, 1961, Unsworth photographed screen tests of four actresses contending for the role of Miss Taro, including eventual winner Zena Marshall.

In January 1962, principal photography on Dr. No began. Before it was over, executives at Film Finances would make a move the company rarely made because of financial concerns.

Thanks to Gary J. Firuta for loaning the blog his copy of A Bond for Bond.

NEXT: Dr. No falls a half-day behind schedule on its first day.