The Trouble With Harry
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The Trouble with Harry is a 1955 American Technicolor black comedy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The screenplay by John Michael Hayes was based on the 1950 novel by Jack Trevor Story. It starred Edmund Gwenn, John Forsythe, Mildred Natwick, Jerry Mathers and Shirley MacLaine in her film debut. The Trouble with Harry was released in the United States on September 30, 1955, then re-released in 1984 once the distribution rights had been acquired by Universal Pictures.
The action in The Trouble with Harry takes place during a sun-filled autumn in the Vermont countryside. The fall foliage and the beautiful scenery around the village, as well as Bernard Herrmann's light-filled score, all set an idyllic tone. The story is about how nine residents of a small Vermont village react when the dead body of a man named Harry is found on a hillside. The film is, however, not a murder mystery: it is a light comedy-drama with a touch of romance, in which the corpse serves as a MacGuffin. Four village residents end up working together to solve the problem of what to do with Harry. In the process, the younger two (an artist and a very young, twice-widowed woman) fall in love and become a couple, soon to be married. The older two residents (a captain and a spinster) also fall in love.
The quirky but down-to-earth residents of the small hamlet of Highwater, Vermont, are faced with the freshly dead body of Harry Worp (Philip Truex), which has inconveniently appeared on the hillside above the town. The problem of who the person is, who was responsible for his sudden death, and what should be done with the body is \"the trouble with Harry\".
Captain Wiles (Edmund Gwenn) is sure that he killed the man with a stray shot from his rifle while hunting, until it is shown he actually shot a rabbit. Jennifer Rogers (Shirley MacLaine), Harry's estranged wife, believes she killed Harry because she hit him hard with a milk bottle. Miss Gravely (Mildred Natwick) is certain that the man died after a blow from the heel of her hiking boot when he lunged at her out of the bushes, while still reeling from the blow he received at the hands of Jennifer. Sam Marlowe (John Forsythe), an attractive and nonconformist artist, is open-minded about the whole event, and is prepared to help his neighbors and new-found friends in any way he can. In any case, no one is upset at all about Harry's death.
Primary location shooting took place in Craftsbury, Vermont. Assuming that the town would be in full foliage, the company showed up for outdoor shots on September 27, 1954. To the filmmakers' shock, there was hardly any foliage left; to achieve a full effect, leaves were glued to the trees. Several scenes in the film had to be shot in a rented high school gym because of persistent rain. In the gym, a 500-lb (226-kg) camera fell from a great height and barely missed Hitchcock, and the sound of the rain on the roof of the gym necessitated extensive post-production re-recording. Other locations included Morrisville and Barre,[unreliable source] with the shooting lasting up to December of that year.[unreliable source] Full details on the making of the film are in Steven DeRosa's book Writing with Hitchcock.
The paintings by the character Sam Marlowe were painted by American abstract expressionist artist John Ferren, who was present during principal photography in Vermont. While there, he instructed John Forsythe in the correct painting technique for his on-screen work. Hitchcock was particularly interested in Ferren's work, for his vivid use of color, which he thought would be resonant with the autumnal colors of New England. The sketch of the corpse, Harry Worp, was done on location by Ferren's wife, Rae Ferren, also a fine artist. Hitchcock and Ferren very much enjoyed collaborating, and as a result of this first project together, he was invited several years later to design the \"special sequence\" core to the 1958 Hitchcock film Vertigo. The panoramic drawing for the opening credits was done by Saul Steinberg.
Alfred Hitchcock's cameo is a signature occurrence in most of his films. In The Trouble with Harry, he can be seen 22:14 minutes into the film as he walks past a parked limousine while an old man looks at paintings for sale at the roadside stand.
The Trouble with Harry is notable as a landmark in Hitchcock's career as it marked the first of several highly regarded collaborations with composer Bernard Herrmann. In an interview for The New York Times on June 18, 1971, Hitchcock stated that the score was his favorite of all his films. Herrmann rerecorded a new arrangement of highlights from the film's score for Phase 4 Stereo with Herrmann calling the arrangement A Portrait of Hitch.
A \"cash-in\" song titled \"The Trouble with Harry\" was written by Floyd Huddleston with Herb Wiseman and Mark McIntyre. A recording of the song by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. (using the pseudonym of \"Alfi & Harry\") was released as a single in early 1956, reaching No. 44 on the US Billboard chart and No. 15 on the UK singles chart. A competing version by Les Baxter reached No. 80 on the Billboard chart. The title aside, the record had no connection with the film.
The film rights reverted to Hitchcock following its initial release. It was little shown for nearly 30 years, other than a showing on NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies network television broadcast in the early 1960s, though there were some theatrical exhibition in 1963. After protracted negotiations with the Hitchcock estate, Universal Pictures reissued it in 1983, along with Rear Window, Vertigo, and The Man Who Knew Too Much, which in turn led to VHS and eventually DVD and Blu-ray versions for the home video market.
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not sure he mines the darkly funny premise to its fullest potential (the whole thing is just a bit too quiet and warm considering almost every character thinks they've murdered someone) but it's a gorgeously made little comedy from hitchcock with beautiful new england autumn colors.
Hitchcock returns to the comedy genre with an odd picture about a group of individuals who come upon the corpse of one of the inhabitants and the mystery of how it wound up there as some of them try to dispose of it.
Taking a break from his back-to-back delivery of nail-bitingly tense thrillers, Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry presents the master director experimenting with his storytelling ability in a new genre and although most of his films do have little elements of humour in it, this film qualifies as one of the few true comedies of his career.
Set in a small town in Vermont, The Trouble with Harry concerns the town's residents & their actions when they discover the freshly dead body of Harry on the hillside and are clueless about what to do with it. A darkly comic outing from Hitchcock, the film features some hilarious situations surrounding a dead body & also works as a light-hearted but effective mystery.
Harry lay buried for 30 years. I dug him up today and rewatched. I recognized the autumnal Vermont glow as a mixture of Robert Frost and Douglas Sirk. I knew Hitchcock was contrasting this beauty with the ugliness of death. I could the family resemblance between Harry and the Coen brothers.
Adapted with remarkable fidelity by John Michael Hayes from a short fable by Jack Trevor Story, this was one of Alfred Hitchcock's favourite pictures. Yet, for all its macabre whimsy, it would be wrong to see this simply as a droll entertainment, despite the geniality of the leading quartet, Robert Burks's gleaming autumnal vistas and Bernard Herrmann's jaunty score. Nor should it be dismissed as a one-gag wonder, as Harry's various burials and exhumations are merely the Macguffin that allows Hitchcock to discuss the weightier themes of faith, justice, passion and mortality.
Few Hitchcock pictures are so laced with innuendo. But even more striking is the casual attitude towards death - not just on behalf of the four principals, but also on that of the director whose childhood terror of falling foul of the law is replaced by a barely suppressed glee at turning the disposal of a cadaver into a mischievous prank.
Perhaps the city boy in Hitchcock embraced the countryside's more relaxed attitude to death as part of the cycle of nature and that Harry was his pastoral variation on the trademark theme of suspense (albeit in a mild form) within the everyday. Certainly the picture's only surprise was in revealing what the debuting Shirley Maclaine whispered to John Forsythe as her cherished wish after he offers to buy her a gift - and even that reinforces the link between carnality and fatality, as her request for a double bed is made just as her ex-husband's body is left in the clearing awaiting its last and legitimate discovery.
Impertinent, maybe, but the Senator held the cards. It was March 1924, and Sinclair was sitting before the Senate Committee on Public Lands. They asked ten questions regarding his suspect behavior uncovered during his acquittal in an earlier fraud trial involving a felonious Secretary of the Interior. Harry remained smug, knowing that back home, all those oil pumpers in the Midcontinent field were making him millions. Sinclair was equally at home doing vodka shots with Russian czars and strolling oil derrick grime. But he did not coddle or cotton.
Oil derrick foundations needed timber. Sinclair used his coverage proceeds to buy lumber, selling it to the wildcatters who constructed pyramid-shaped structures on the oil patches springing up in the Mid-Continent fields of southeast Kansas. He learned that, with little risk, he could turn a small investment into a big dividend. With that, 21-year-old Harry