Stepney Green – The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) | Stepney Green

Hitchcock’s first of two versions of the suspense thriller, this one starring Peter Lorre, is based loosely on the Siege of Sidney Street which occurred when Hitchcock was growing up in the East End: a group of anarchists – supposedly led by Peter Piatkow, a.k.a. “Peter the Painter” – were caught in a gun fight with the police. The incident was widely criticised for the interference of the then-Home Secretary Winston Churchill, who ordered two 13-pound field artillery guns to the scene (in case a foreign army showed up?) and who also prevented fire fighters from entering the blazing building till the gunfire from inside stopped. The ensuing conflagration led to the death of one fireman, Charles Pearson.