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Harvey Movie Review

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December 9, 2004


1950 - USA - Drama/Comedy

Type: Features

Rating: NR (Excellent For Children)

Running Time: 104 minutes Starring: Peggy Dow, Charles Drake, Victoria Horne, Josephine Hull, Cecil Kellaway, James Stewart

Directed by: Henry Koster

By Pamela Byrd


Viewing this film is like biting into a piece of your favorite chocolate candy. Harvey is sweet and emotionally warming. Watching Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) strolling through his role of a warm hearted and good natured man is a delightful experience. This original Broadway play (and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize) has managed to convey a good story in an interesting, simple, and moving manner. The comedic happenings throughout the movie are genteel and provide and excellent setting for family entertainment.

Harvey is the story about Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) and his imaginarily friend, he calls Harvey. His everyday chum, Harvey is a 6'8"white rabbit in which only Elwood can converse with and see. Those that are close to Elwood tolerate this imaginary friend yet the townsfolk perceive him as a foolish man who talks to himself.

Elwood is a late bachelor who lives with his high strung sister, Veta (Josephine Hull) and his shy niece, Myrtle Mae (Victoria Horne). Veta decides she is going to hold a social gathering at their home yet tries to keep it a secret from Elwood as she feels he will be an embarrassment to the family, with this obsession Elwood has of Harvey. While at a friendly neighborhood bar, Elwood hears of Veta's planned party and quickly returns home, innocently thinking his sister has "overlooked" telling him about the social gathering. When arriving to the party, Veta and his niece Myrtle try to persistently keep him away from the guests; for fear that Elwood will introduce his imaginary friend, Harvey to the socialites'. Veta and Myrtle's ploy fails and the women that are introduced to Harvey, present excuses to quickly leave the party. Veta is appalled by the impression Elwood made on the company and comes to a decision that it's time to do something about this charade of Elwood's. She takes Elwood to a mental sanitarium to commit her brother for treatment. When Veta conveys Elwood's condition to the doctor, she unknowingly discloses too much of the story about Harvey. The doctor hastily diagnoses her to be the crazy one and quickly moves in the coordination to admit her to the psychiatric ward. Elwood of course, being the affable one, values what the doctor is saying and signs the paperwork to have his sister committed. After the hospital staff realizes the mistake, they search ubiquitously for Elwood to correct the matter.

The director's dramatic structure in Harvey displays the aesthetic and logical arrangements accordingly to provide the audience with maximum emotional impact. The cinematographer's choice of dramatic foils for the actors and settings of rough-grained black and white photography encourages the audience to be focused on the characters and the narrative being told. The lighting



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