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James Stewart gives one of his finest performances in this lighthearted film, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Stewart stars as the good-natured Elwood P. Dowd, whose constant companion is Harvey, a six-foot tall rabbit that only he can see. To his sister, Veta Louise, Elwood’s obsession with Harvey has been a thorn in the side of her plans to marry off her daughter. But when Veta Louise decides to put Elwood in a mental hospital, a hilarious mix-up occurs and she finds herself committed instead. It’s up to Elwood to straighten out the mess with his kindly philosophy, and his “imaginary” friend, in this popular classic that features a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award-wining performance by Josephine Hull.
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THE STORY: Elwood P. Dowd is one of the most easy-going, likable, friendlier sorts you'll ever meet. Nothing ever seems to bother him. His sister and her daughter on the other hand are a tad high-strung. He does enjoy a good drink now and again (and again, and again), while they're both teetotalers. But that's not his biggest problem. Elwood's biggest problem (six foot three and one half inches to be exact), is that his best friend and constant companion is an invisible white rabbit named Harvey.
THOUGHTS: HARVEY is an innocently charming film and one of legendary actor James Stewart's best-loved roles. What makes the film great, beyond the hilarious comedy, is that what might seem to be a disability to everyone else may actually be Dowd's secret weapon in dealing with the inanity and insanity in the world. Elwood gets along remarkably well, in fact. Much more so than his flaky social butterfly sister, his homely man-hungry niece, or other folks in town who cluck their tongues or shake their heads behind his back. They're all about themselves and they just want Elwood to fit in. He does fit in, just not the exact way those around him 'think' he should. Watch how happily Dowd moves through the world, as easy as a leaf on a breeze. Then observe how those around him are frustrated, angry and fighting through life every step of the way. Who's to say who the crazy ones really are?? HARVEY teeters between traditional comedy and full-blown screwball farce, handling both aspects equally (and surprisingly) well. It is laugh out loud funny, delightful, insightful and bittersweet. The supporting cast are all excellent, aiding Stewart mightily in his deceptively perceptive role as the unassuming bunny-befriended boozer.
THE BLU-RAY: Universal's hi-def transfer has some crush (video noise) but is otherwise an outstanding effort. The blacks are solid, mid-tones are strong and focus is sharp; no mushy gray blobs here. Very little in the way of artifacting or pixelation. Soundmix is strong and thankfully level. Extras include an introduction by Jimmy Stewart, the original theatrical trailer, and two Universal Studios-themed featurettes.
Stewart is kind-hearted Elwood Dowd--a very pleasant, likeable sort of guy with one HUGE quirk--his best friend and confidant is a 6 foot invisible rabbit named Harvey. Needless to say, Elwood's invisible friend creates endless embarassment for his older sister Veta in her attempts to climb the social ladder and find a husband for her spinster daughter. There is only one solution. Veta will have Elwood committed to a mental insitution but it's Veta who ends up committed.
It's Stewart's calm, sweet nature that fills the screen and makes us wonder what is the harm in having an imaginary friend? It's not clear how Harvey entered Stewart's life but they are best friends and devoted to each other...hey, didn't I just say Harvey was imaginary? That's the fun of it. We start to believe Elwood's friend is real.
HARVEY does look dated and that can be distracting at times. The movie has an "old" feel but there is fun in stepping back in time when movies had a story to tell.
If you're a film buff and you want to have some fun with folks, pair this as a double feature with Donnie Darko. You can call it "Pooka-night", or is that "Night of the Pooka"?
Elwood Dobbs is a misunderstood man that has an invisible friend named Harvey. This friend keeps Elwood company when he's lonely, understands him when others can't/won't. (There should be more Elwood Dobbs around then the world would be a much happier place)
Elwood lives with his sister and neice, not being able to understand her dear brother Veta enlists the help of her attorney thinking that Elwood could use the help of a psychiatry hospital to help Elwood see that Harvey doesn't exist. While Veta tries to register her brother Elwood the fun begins and the laughter starts flying.
This is a family fun movie (like most of the classics) that brings wholesome entertainment back into the living room.
James "Jimmy" Stewart is fabulous in this movie, it also stars; Josephine Hull, Charles Drake, Cecil Kellaway & Jesse White.
I can't recommend this movie enough !!!
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