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Review: Harvey (1950)

Harvey

Rating

Director
Henry Koster
Screenplay
Mary Chase, Oscar Brodney (Play: Mary Chase)
Length
104 min.
Starring
James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow, Charles Drake, Cecil Kellaway, Victoria Horne, Jessie White, William H. Lynn, Wallace Ford, Nana Bryant, Grace Mills, Clem Beavans
MPAA Rating
Approved

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Review
It's an interesting story about a grown man with a pooka spirit in the form of a 6'3" rabbit named Harvey. The problem is that no one can see Elwood P. Dowd's imaginary companion, but as the film shows, sometimes the imaginary can influence the lives of those around them.

James Stewart delivers a spot-on performance as the friendly Dowd. Having perfected it no doubt on the British stage, it comes as little surprise that he does so well with it. Yet, he's surrounded by a good, but not great supporting cast including Oscar winner Josephine Hull whose manic performance is fun, but not nearly as impressive as an Oscar winner should be. Playing the seemingly sane Elwood's uptight and repressed sister is a bit of a challenge, but any number of actresses in that period could have carried it off that well. That she also carried over from the stage production may have been a factor in the decision.

The film is certainly amusing at times and had they left the audience with the impression that Harvey was entirely a figment of Elwood's imagination instead of giving them several clues that he was real, it might have carried a bit more weight with me. As it stands, I find it a good movie, but like it's supporting cast, not great. Entertaining as it may be, I was not emotionally invested with the characters, I couldn't have cared less if Harvey had gotten so tired of it all he had just run off. He is still a nice representation of the power within us all to embellish and enhance the lives of those around us, even those whose lives are not the most benevolent or happy. Sometimes even someone who seems to have no grasp on reality can be more sane than those who look like they do.
Review Written
August 16, 2010

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