It’s the Year of Movie Moments for the blog! And Morocco has an awful lot of movie moments to choose from. Did you know they have their own “Hollywood” in a place called Ouarzazate? Many epic and legendary movies have been set or filmed in Morocco, including this week’s feature film: The Man Who Knew Too Much.
This is a 1956 suspense-thriller from none other than the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. It stars All-American girl Doris Day and my #1 favorite actor, Jimmy Stewart!
Stewart and Day are Dr. Ben and Mrs. Jo McKenna. He is a physician, she’s a famous former singer. In fact, this movie features Day’s most famous song of her career, “Que Sera, Sera”! They are traveling with their son, Hank, in Morocco and meet a curious man on a bus from Casablanca to Marrakech; he asks a lot of questions of Jimmy Stewart, but reveals very little about himself. Suspicious, yes?
That evening this man is supposed to meet the McKennas for dinner at their accommodation, Hotel Mounia (currently La Mamounia Hotel). He mysteriously has to leave, but Dr. and Mrs. McKenna wind up having dinner with a couple of Jo McKenna’s fans who recognize her in the hotel restaurant. They strike up a fast friendship, but something’s not quite right.
The following day, the McKennas and their son go out to the Jemaa el-Fna marketplace. It’s all fun and games until the curious man from the bus shows up in full traditional Moroccan men’s wear and tan face paint to make him truly look the part. He has been stabbed, so naturally Dr. McKenna is obliged to attend to him. The man whispers about a conspiracy to assassinate a prime minister, then dies with no further explanation!
At the most opportune moment, the McKennas’ new friends from last night’s dinner show up and offer to take Hank back to the hotel with them while Dr. and Mrs. McKenna file a report at the police station. But when they return to the hotel, they find that their new “friends” have kidnapped their son! You’ll have to watch the movie to see how it all turns out.
You will definitely recognize these sites around Marrakech’s Medina, or old town.
The McKennas took the bus from Casablanca to Marrakech, just like the locals and other tourists did back in the da—and the way they do now! The difference is that the buses are newer and are sometimes (but not always) air conditioned!
Hotel Mounia (now La Mamounia)
The McKennas, of course, stayed at the already (even in 1956) legendary Hotel Mounia, which is now called La Mamounia. It has been the epitome of Moroccan glamour for decades, and guests include Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle, Tom Cruise, Charleston Heston, Jennifer Aniston, Princess Charlotte of Monaco, and more! Unfortunately, their service has not improved since the movie. They let strangers take off with the McKennas’ son, and they treated us like worthless riff-raff!
Read about Why I Will Not Recommend La Mamounia.
La Mamounia’s Moroccan Restaurant
The #1 hotel in the world would only have the best food available for guests and visitors, right? Jimmy Stewart’s character had a bit of trouble with the traditional food, especially trying to eat with only his right hand, but the meal was a very important part of the movie’s plot nonetheless!
Hopefully you won’t see someone freshly murdered here, but you will definitely get the same sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and feels that the McKennas did in the movie!
Have Your Own “Man Who Knew Too Much”
If Marrakech is on your “must go” list, then you must have some of your own movie moments while you’re there!
Take the Bus to (or from!) Marrakech
Travel like the McKennas… but now with more style! Catch a SupraTours or CTM bus to get to or from Marrakech. We took the CTM bus from MArrakech to Ouarzazate!
Visit Hotel Mounia (La Mamounia)
You can stay here, but honestly I don’t recommend it!
Eat at one of the La Mamounia Restaurants
Enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal here like the McKennas did! But maybe you should be a little more suspicious of random strangers who might want to befriend you during your meal!
Experience Jemaa el-Fna and the Souks
You can’t go to Marrakech and miss out on the Jemaa el-Fna experience! Between the street performers, the food stalls, the hawkers, and the shopping stalls, you can see how things could get a little hectic for the McKennas.
Have Your Own Movie Night
Never seen The Man Who Knew Too Much? Have you seen it but it’s been a while? Check it out!
Have you seen The Man Who Knew Too Much? Tell me below!
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