The trouble with Harry is that he's dead. The scene is a autumnal Vermont village, where a pre-Leave It to Beaver Jerry Mathers stumbles upon Harry's corpse in the woods. Mathers alerts his mother Shirley MacLaine (making her film debut), who recognizes Harry as her ex-husband. Later on, retired sea captain Edmund Gwenn likewise comes across the moribund Harry. Both MacLaine and Gwenn have reason to believe that they're responsible for Harry's demise; MacLaine thinks that she killed Harry by clobbering him with a bottle, while Gwenn is certain that he shot the poor fellow while hunting. As the day draws to a close, seemingly every person in town is convinced that he or she has had some hand in Harry's death, thus they conspire to hide the body from the authorities. Visiting artist John Forsythe, dumbfounded at the calm, collected reactions of the villagers regarding Harry (whose ubiquitous body pops up at the most inopportune moments), solves the "mystery." Though not his most successful film, The Trouble with Harry was one of director Alfred Hitchcock's favorites. The story's whimsical black-comedy elements are perfectly complemented by Bernard Herrmann's playful music score. Best bit: Mildred Natwick, coming upon Gwenn as the latter is strenuously dragging away Harry's corpse, asking offhandedly "What seems to be the trouble, Captain?" The Trouble with Harry was adapted by John Michael Hayes from the novel by John Trevor.
by Hal Erickson synopsis