The Trouble with Harry (1955)

Genres - Comedy, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy, Comedy Thriller, Ensemble Film  |   Release Date - Oct 3, 1955 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Mark Deming

Alfred Hitchcock rarely allowed his dry and barbed sense of humor to rise to the surface as fully as in The Trouble With Harry, one of his only real comedies, and a film that he often cited as a personal favorite. Like a Charles Addams or Gahan Wilson cartoon come to life, The Trouble With Harry finds its characters amusingly unconcerned with the fact that Harry is dead, and his remains -- repeatedly dug up, dragged about, and reburied -- are shown a casual disrespect that is both funny and jarring. Hitchcock had a fondness for eccentric comic-relief characters, and here he gave them a film to themselves; Edmund Gwenn, Mildred Dunnock, and Mildred Natwick are all in fine form. While it requires a certain suspension of disbelief to accept John Forsythe as a bohemian artist, Shirley MacLaine was an inspired choice, in her first screen role, as his love interest, displaying a sharp, pixie-ish charm that was a welcome alternative to the high-gloss glamour gals of the period (and Hitchcock's usual ice-queen heroines). The Trouble With Harry is not one of Hitchcock's best films, but the Master was clearly enjoying himself, and anyone who appreciated the eccentricity of Thelma Ritter in Rear Window or Leo G. Carroll in North by Northwest will have a lot of fun with this movie.