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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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Jimmy Stewart is Elwood P. Dowd, an ever so tipsy gentleman, that introduces his friend, Harvey, to almost everyone he meets.
Harvey happens to be a six foot invisible rabbit, a pooka! A pooka, according to Irish folklore, is a mischievous spirit, especially one that takes on the form of an animal. In this instance the pooka is a rabbit, one that only Elwood P. Dowd can see. A pooka can enter through locked doors and windows and is said to be here and there, there and here, everywhere and anywhere.
Elwood P. lives with his easily flustered sister, Veta Louise, superbly played by Josphine Hull, and her daughter, Myrtle Mae (Victoria Horne). Myrtle Mae desperately wants to get married and, Uncle Elwood, because of Harvey, stands in the way. Elwood will do anything to keep Veta Louise happy even if it means being sent to a sanitarium. This is where everything literally goes crazy!
Poor Veta Louise is mistaken as the one being commited! Enter in the man of Myrtle Mae's dreams in the form of Wilson, a male nurse played by Jesse White, the first Maytag repairman. Myrtle Mae's romance with Wilson gets off to a rocky start when he is the one who must forcefully keep Veta Louise locked in the sanitarium. Every time she sees him she screams and says, "Stay away from that man, Myrtle Mae, and keep him away from me"!
Complicating matters further at the sanitarium, is the relationship, or lack of one, between Dr. Sanderson, (Charles Drake) and Nurse Kelly, (Peggy Dow). They are in charge when the mixup happens and find themselves having to find Elwood P. and bring him back.
Dr. Chumley, played by the talented Cecil Kellaway, is the head of the sanitarium. He encounters Elwood P. Dowd and Harvey and soon develops a bond with Harvey. Dr. Chumley wants Harvey to stay with him and Elwood, who wants what's best for Harvey, reluctantly leaves without his best friend.
The bewildered, impatient taxi driver, played by talented Wallace Ford, (I know you will recognize him) drives the family back and forth to the sanitarium. He and Veta Louise's friend and, not so secret admirer, Judge Gaffney, played by the scraggly voiced William Lynn, add wonderful color to the story. If you have never seen this movie, now in DVD, you will be in for a treat! ~ Mrs. B.
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