The Trouble with Harry (1955)

trouble with harry poster 1955 movie hitchcock
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Clever, comedic mystery

Nothing

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Trouble with Harry

Studio:  Paramount Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy/Mystery/Suspense/Romance

Release Date(s):  October 3, 1955

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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It’s the Beav….and he’s a stone-cold killer!

Harry Worp (Philip Truex) has caused a real problem…he died.  Unfortunately, Captain Albert Wiles (Edmund Gwenn) thinks he shot him, but it could also be the spinster Miss Gravely (Mildred Natwick).  Another suspect is Worp’s wife Jenner (Shirley MacLaine) who was on the run with her son Arnie (Jerry Mathers), but regardless who killed Harry, Harry has become a problem.  Sam Marlowe (John Forsythe) has agreed to cover the accidental killer’s tracks and keep the matter from Deputy Sheriff Calvin Wiggs (Royal Dano), but Harry (like the problems) keep popping up.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, The Trouble with Harry is a comedy-mystery with romance.  The film adapts Jack Trevor Story’s 1949 novel of the same name.  Following Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (also in 1955), the film was considered one of Hitchcock’s “5 Lost Hitchcocks” with The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Rear Window, Rope, and Vertigo in that the films were out of circulation for decades due to copyright issues.

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Hitch taking a stroll…maybe he’ll find Harry too

Hitchcock said that The Trouble with Harry was one of his favorite films he made.  Unlike many of his big budget movies, the movie has a very, very light tone, but still has that Hitchcock edge to it.  It is a fun ride.

The plot for The Trouble with Harry is where the movie excels.  It is rather like a play (something like Arsenic and Old Lace) and has an odd macabre tone to it.  The characters while likeable are completely shallow…almost like Seinfeld.  They have a total disregard for the loss of life and also drag a child into it.  Hitchcock allegedly wanted to experiment with subtle humor instead of laugh-out-loud comedy.

Hitchcock also wanted a non-star driven movie.  Edmund Gwenn worked with Hitchcock before on Foreign Correspondent, Waltzes from Vienna, and The Skin Game (The Trouble with Harry was  his final work with Hitchcock).  The movie marked Shirley McLaine’s first film and an early appearance of Jerry Mathers (aka The Beaver).  John Forsyth had mostly done TV but also starred in Hitchcock’s adaptation of Topaz.  Mildred Natwick, Mildred Dunnock, and Royal Dano round out the cast and form a nice ensemble.

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Hey does anyone care that a person died? No, ok nevermind…

Like the story, the movie is very limited to locations.  The film had to rely on sets a lot due to poor weather during the filming.  It is too bad because a lot of the establishing shots are great and it is nice to see Hitchcock use a different location like Vermont.  This movie rally benefits from a good transfer in its brightness and colors.

The Trouble with Harry is a must for Hitchcock fans in that it shows his range.  Fans of the darker Hitchcock films might not like the movie due to its light tone, but it still keeps a lot of those Hitchcock elements that made him famous.  The first time I watched The Trouble with Harry, I was a bit on the fence…the second time, it worked.  Hitchcock followed The Trouble with Harry with the 1956 remake of his own 1934 film The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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