Background Information :
The Trouble with Harry was directed by the supremely talented British film-maker and producer Alfred Hitchcock. This movie was first released in the U.S.A at the end of 1955 and later re-released again in 1984 after sorting out some technical problems.Sir Alfred Hitchcock does not require a formal introduction, he is widely popular and renowned for his excellence in movie making and also direction. He has introduced the movie viewers to psychological and crime thrillers properly. His charismatic style, unique and innovative on-screen presentation just made his movies extraordinary and hugely appreciated by the general audience and movie-critics till the present day.
This movie is considered as one of the most underrated movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is a black comedy genre movie, which revolves around the comical response and activities of six grown-up people about a dead human body.
A black comedy film is a sub genre of comedy films, where real life occurrence and stories has been presented in a satirical and comical way but still preserving the theme and originality of the main story. Usually, the incidents and stories are often considered as unmentionable and taboo in our society, and are presented in a very funny and humorous way in black comedy movies with a hidden message to the society.
Story Based On:
The original story of this movie was written by the British novel-writer Jack Trevor Story. Later Alfred Hitchcock bought the rights from the writer. John Michael Hayes re-wrote the original story and formatted it to present in cinema screen. John M. Hayes has done some outstanding screen-writing for Alfred Hitchcock’s famous and widely popular movies.
Main Cast :
*Edmund Gwenn plays the role of Captain Albert Wiles (Funny and quirky old man)
*Jerry Mathers plays the role of Arnie Rogers (A cute, curious and interesting kid, son of Jennifer Rogers)
*Shirley MacLaine plays the role of Jennifer Rogers (Single mother and got a son named Arnie, she is smart, humorous and attractive)
*John Forsythe plays the role of Sam Marlowe (An absent-minded artist, who is in love with Jennifer and tries to find out the real truth behind the recent incidents)
*Mildred Natwick plays the role of Miss Gravely (Weird middle-aged lady lives alone and likes Captain Wiles.)
Plot Outline :
This movie opens in a bright, sunny morning in a small country town. Where the kid Arnie Rogers is playing on the country side and suddenly finds out a dead body. He gets curious and confused and goes back to home to call his mother Jennifer Rogers.
The old and laid back captain Wiles, who has weak eye-sight, comes to the same place looking for a rabbit. He was trying to shoot a rabbit whole morning but he keeps missing them. Later, he thought he got one rabbit but instead he finds out the same dead body that Arnie found out earlier. Captain Wiles identifies him from a letter from dead body’s pocket book who turns out to be a random stranger to him named Harry Worp from Boston, Massachusetts. A middle-aged Lady named Miss Gravely was roaming around the same place and met Captain Wiles there. The curious and absent-minded artist Sam came to the same place to draw a picture. He also found out about the dead body and got very interested and curious.
So the story tells us why the total stranger Mr. Harry comes to this small town, what was his mission and how he gets killed. It also tells us how these total six random people are related to this dead body and how they try to get rid of their guilty conscience. It is really an interesting movie and has some really funny and enjoyable moments along with some intersecting twists in plot-line. It is another classic movie presented by the universal genius Alfred Hitchcock and definitely worth checking out.
Alfred Hitchcock is a legendary movie-director of psychological and crime thrillers in the history of world Cinema. The Trouble with Harry is one of his off-beat movies and mainly focused on the very common human attitudes and habits. He studied the human character too well in this movie and presented them in an innovative but really honest way. That just proves his excellence and supremacy in directing various types of movies without compromising his usual standard and qualities.
Each character in this movie can be found in our common daily life and around us. You also may be find one of them resembles to your own personality. But where this stands out is how these different people act under pressure and the sudden occurrence of an incident and director A. Hitchcock presented this reality remarkably well in this movie.
This is not one of usual Hitchcock’s movies, though it revolves around a dead body (like most of his movies) but it actually shows the funny and humorous side of a common human character. I really enjoyed this movie and truly appreciated Hitchcock’s outstanding direction and presentation in this movie. But it may be that some people find it bit boring and awkward in certain places due to the different story-lines, cheesy but very honest and straight-forward dialogues. However if you watch it carefully, you will realize that Hitchcock actually presented very common human characters and habits in a sarcastic, but honest ,way and gives a very important message to society.
~Humor and Reality~
The famous screen-writer John M. Hayes did a fantastic job in this movie. He also wrote the scripts of some famous and well-recognized movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
The dialogues and one-liners are really funny and cheesy, but also have a deeper meaning and leave the audience thinking about life and death, glory and pain and also love and hate in our daily lives. These emotions and daily occurrences lead us to do some strange activities and that cannot be justified in a normal situation.
Some dialogues are really sarcastic and humorous. Such as, in a situation where Captain Wiles and Sam Marlowe were having a conversation with Mrs. Wiggs (the care-taker of Sam’s pictures – she keeps them in her small shop to sell them):
Mrs. Wiggs: He said they (Sam’s pictures) are priceless.
Captain Wiles: Priceless? Sounds like something I painted in kindergarten.
Sam Marlowe: Captain, that picture is symbolic to the beginning of the world.
Captain Wiles: That’s where I first heard of the world, in kindergarten.
The character of Captain Wiles has a sharp sense of humour and always responses with witty but meaningful one-liners. He is really amazing and entertaining character in the movie and I really enjoyed his (E. Gwenn’s) acting.
Smart and curious artist Sam Marlowe falls in love with the charming and beautiful single mother Jennifer Rogers at first sight. But, he never demands anything or tries to force her to do something that she is not comfortable with. I love the way Hitchcock presented the romantic relationship between Sam and Jennifer in the most realistic but also cynical way. Especially J. Forsythe, who plays the character of ‘Sam Marlowe’ with a touch of elegance and sheer confidence. He is flexible, has very honest and communicative facial expression and sharp delivery of dialogues.
In one occasion he was having the following conversation with Jennifer.
Sam Marlowe: Because I love you. I want to marry you.
Jennifer Rogers: Oh.! (Long Pause) You want to marry me?
Sam Marlowe: Uh-Huh..Why not?
Jennifer Rogers: Well, because I just got my freedom today.
Sam Marlowe: Easy come, easy go…besides if you marry me, you would keep your freedom.
Jennifer Rogers: You must be practically unique then.
Here Sam Marlowe confesses his unconditional but meaningful love towards Jennifer. He never puts any conditions or boundaries in his love. Because, Sam loves her truly, he sets her free. He gives her a complete freedom, a freedom that Jennifer wanted in her whole life, a must deserve freedom that she dreams about but never got one. Sam Marlowe becomes the passionate but honest lover and gives her freedom. In return, Jennifer truly appreciates Sam’s love for her. I just love the way Mr. Hitchcock presents this romantic couple on-screen. The chemistry between them is so deep and meaningful, that it definitely touches the audience.
As a human, we have our conscience and we know what to do or how to react in a normal situation. But when we face trouble and have guilty consciences, then we act really randomly and oddly. No one can predict what he/she is going to do, when he is under tremendous pressure and also harbours a guilty feeling. In this movie, Mr. Hitchcock has presented this universal fact of human life in a vivid and descriptive way with a touch of sheer wittiness.
This movie was well received by the audience but later it was unavailable to the general viewers due to some internal copyright conflict. After a long wait of 30 years, it was re-released in 1984 and is available to viewers. Mr. Alfred Hitchcock considered this movie as one of his personal favorites.
Currently this movie has a 7.0/10 rating in IMDB (An internet website evaluates movies and solely based on viewer’s reception) , oted by almost ten thousand viewers.
This movie did not win any major awards though it was nominated for two BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards and also nominated for one award at DGA (Director’s Guild America).
I saw this movie on television almost two years ago. Later I rented this movie. Trust me it was the same joyful experience for me as the first time I watched it. All I can say it’s definitely worth one and half hour of your time. It is a superbly directed movie with funny and witty dialogues and some interesting plot twists. You can buy this movie from Amazon and it will cost you only 5 GBP. Otherwise you can rent this movie from some high-street rental stores.
Thank you very much for reading and really hope you enjoy this classic movie.