Classic Movie Review: Harvey (1950)


Title: Harvey
Release Date: December 21, 1950
Director: Henry Koster
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Summary/Review:

Harvey is a movie I saw parts of when I was younger, and I’m pretty sure attempted to watch at a later date (checked out the video but didn’t get a chance to watch it).  So it’s been on my “list” for quite some time.  The central premise is whimsical: Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) is best friends with a 6′ 3.5″ rabbit who is a pooka that only he can see.

The reality of the film is darker.  Elwood’s sister, Veta Louise Simmons (Josephine Hull) and niece, Myrtle Mae (Victoria Horne), share his home and find their social life ruined by his apparent mental illness and alcoholism.  They’re attempt to have him committed to a sanatorium turns into a comedy of error that relies on a lot of cringe humor that rubs me the wrong way.  Maybe I’m overly sensitive to issues of mental health and substance abuse but much of the humor in this film didn’t make me laugh.

The other big problem with this movie is that the cast of this movie are just not as good at acting as Jimmy Stewart.  He has some wonderful moments in this movie, even if you have to set aside the cliche of the “wise fool” to enjoy them.  When he’s not on screen, it’s readily apparent that his colleagues aren’t up to snuff and the movie suffers.

Rating: **1/2