38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Unexpectedly different mystery comedy from the Master,
This review is from: The Trouble with Harry (DVD)
Hitchcock was hardly a one-note director. He functioned in a variety of modes, and while the various films he made possessed a family resemblance to one another, they are not monolithically the same. If one only allows him or herself to enjoy the out-and-out suspense films like NORTH BY NORTHWEST or STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, this could very possibly be a film that will not bring pleasure or enjoyment. But if, instead, the viewer is able to be open to something a little bit different, this film can be a source of unexpected delight.
I first saw this film as part of the revival of the "Five Missing Hitchcock" Films in the early 1980s, the others being THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (the Jimmy Stewart version), REAR WINDOW, ROPE, and VERTIGO. While VERTIGO and REAR WINDOW were the two films causing the biggest stir, I was pleasantly surprised by THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY. Hitchcock has always vacillated between comedy and suspense, with some films containing more, and others less, of the former. Except for MR. AND MRS. SMITH, however, this film comes the closest of any of his films to pure comedy.
The trouble with Harry, of course, is that he is dead and won't stay buried. The other trouble is that a vast number of individuals may have had a motive for killing him. But how and why he died is decidedly unimportant. Instead, his corpse provides the basis for a series of mildly complicated situations, as his body is shifted and moved and brooded over.
This movie was the extraordinarily cute Shirley MacLaine's film debut, and she is enormously fetching in it. John Forsythe plays the male lead, but the woodenness of his performance mars his performance somewhat (for the uninitiated, he later was the voice of "Charlie" on CHARLIE'S ANGELS). Several reviewers have noted the presence of the Beaver, Jerry Mathers. Edmund Gwenn, who as he often does, nearly steals the film as Captain Wiles, appears here in his first Hitchcock film since portraying incongruously but magnificently an assassin in FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT in 1940.
Hitchcock filmed THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY on location in Vermont, the most recognizable shots being in one of my favorite towns in America: Craftsbury. I have stayed in inns in Craftsbury on three separate occasions during the fall foliage season (this film was shot with the leaves changing), and I can testify that it is every bit as lovely, albeit a touch more developed, as it appears in this film.
By the way, I'm in love with Harry's tie. The fifties was probably the best decade for ties, with wonderful designs.
This film isn't for everyone, but if you are willing to be flexible, and not be disappointed when this turns out not to be REBECCA or THE BIRDS, then I think most viewers will find a great deal to enjoy and smile about.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 25, 2014, 10:44:04 AM PDT
Great review. I agree with you about 50's ties!
Posted on Nov 5, 2014, 12:58:03 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2014, 12:59:41 PM PST
Roy Kristiansen says:
I saw "Harry" for the first time at the same time (!). It was at the Varsity Theater in Seattle's University District. We had a very upbeat, "with it" audience, but of course, none of us knew what to expect. The little chuckles and giggles started early enough, of course, but they soon juggernauted into uproarious laughter and applause for various droll bits, like when Shirley MacLaine shuts the closet door. It's a little harder to get something like that going when it's only a few people or one watching on a TV at home. Nevertheless, I'll remember my own introduction to "Harry" as an event. I must also compliment Benny Herrmann's delightful music score and the stunning New England autumn photography - one could put together a gorgeous calendar of just those landscape shots.
Posted on Sep 6, 2016, 11:47:58 PM PDT
Randy Thompson says:
Saw the re releases on the big screen too. So beautiful. He was the best.....
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