Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
A deafening clatter of cymbals ricochets off Royal Albert Hall’s grand walls to sound the climax of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 thriller, The Man Who Knew Too Much. The memorable clash occurs during Arthur Benjamin’s “Storm Clouds Cantata,” originally composed for the 1934 version of the film. Everything earlier in the story has built up to this moment, beginning with the McKennas’ innocent vacation in Marrakesh where they meet a mysterious Frenchman—an encounter that soon ensnares them in a kidnapping, a murder, and an assassination plot. Hitchcock’s film fittingly builds to a literal crescendo given that other key elements of the plot hinge on music, namely, Doris Day’s famous “Que Sera, Sera,” which makes its debut here. As memorable as that performance remains, however, the cymbals hold all the power of suspense in this tale. It’s a celebration of Hitchcock, Doris Day, James Stewart, and Arthur Benjamin, but also of 20th century American music legend and Hitchcock collaborator, Bernard Herrmann—a man who appears on screen to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra and Covent Garden Opera Chorus during one of the cinema’s most unforgettable sequences of suspense. The film shows at 4 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 737-4215. nga.gov.