HARVEY

RUNNING TIME: 1 Hr 44 min.

RELEASE DATE: 1950 (B&W)

GENRE: Comedy

STARRING: James Stewart, *Josephine Hull (*Oscar winner)

REVIEW by: Terry Whitsitt

The Classic Movie Corner Rating:  

Harvey grabs the funny bone and runs it over the ribs throughout this classic comedy. Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) doesn't have a care in the world. On a typical day he politely signs for a letter, thanks the messenger, tears it up, and goes for a walk with his closest friend Harvey, a six foot, three inch white rabbit. Later Elwood's sister, Veta Louise (Josephine Hull) hosts a ladies' society meeting. Elwood comes home unexpectedly, and introduces Harvey, to the guests. To Veta Louise's dismay, this sends the ladies rushing to "prior commitment's."

Consequently, Veta Louise decides to have Elwood committed to a mental hospital. During Elwood and Veta Louise's first visit, the doctor has a hard time distinguishing which of the two should be committed. The doctor ends up committing Veta Louise after she admits she has seen Harvey herself.

Later Veta Louise convinces Elwood to get a shot to make him, "never see Harvey again." When the doctor tells Elwood, "We must all face reality sooner or later," Elwood replies, "Well, I wrestled with reality for thirty-five years doctor, and I'm happy to say, I finally won out over it." While waiting for Elwood, a cab driver comments to Veta Louise about how people change after getting, "That stuff." "After this he'll be a perfectly normal human being... and you know what stinkers they are."

Harvey was one of James Stewart's favorite roles. He played it live on stage for six months in England before filming the movie. Josephine Hull, who played Veta Louise on stage and in the movie, and won the Academy Award for "Best Supporting Actress" for her role. The entire cast is superb, from Jesse White, as the intern at the hospital, to the cab driver.

Additional Information

Director: Henry Koster
Producer: John Beck
Screenplay: Mary Chase and Oscar Brodney
Based on: Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Mary Chase

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