Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Trouble With Harry

Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Length: 99 min.
Country: USA
Format: DVD
Date Viewed: 5 March, 2006

Hitchcock's The Trouble With Harry is an unfortunately underrated work by the legendary director, and indeed it was one of the infamous five lost Hitchcocks, thankfully given back to us by his daughter, Patricia. This is the first film of Hitchcock's I've seen that could truly be considered a comedy, though North by Northwest has a heavy element of comedy to it (and the director himself considered Psycho to fit that genre), and all I can say is that now I want to see more. Hitchcock has a special gift for comedy.

The witty dialogue, of course, was provided by somebody else (for this film, John Michael Hayes), but Hitchcock deftly enhances the script with his natural flair for mise en scene, and his interesting and altogether appropriate juxtaposition of the gorgeous Vermont locations with the script's pitch black humor, lending an extra depth to the comedy, pointing fun at our notions of the tranquility of small-town life and the upstanding nature of our nation's senior citizens. Though it is primarily a comedy, the tension over the fate of the body builds as much as it does in his better suspense films.

The Trouble With Harry is not the best Hitchcock film, but it is very good and should be required viewing for any restrospective of the director's work.


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