The Trouble with Harry is not that he’s dead. The trouble with Harry is this: what do we do with him now?
In this film, Hitchcock allows his macabre humor to take center stage instead of winking at us from the corner of the screen, and it’s a pleasure to watch this dark comedy unfold in the bucolic splendor of the Vermont woods. (Okay, some was shot on a stageset due to heavy rains in the Vermont location, but it’s a wicked bucolic stageset.)
Young Arnie Rogers (a pre-Beaver Jerry Mathers) discovers a body in the
stageset woods near his home. His mother Jennifer, curiously unmoved, recognizes the corpse as her erstwhile husband Harry. Indeed, all the characters populating this small rural town are similarly unflappable: local struggling artist Sam Marlowe (John Forsythe), retired seaman Capt. Wiles (Edmund Gwynn), and quavering spinster Miss Graveley (Mildred Natwick) take a whimsical, almost jaunty attitude to the annoyance posed by Harry’s presence… this despite two of them thinking they may have inadvertently killed him.
Tension and humor bump comfortably against each other throughout the film, making it one of Hitchcock’s oddest concoctions — and one of my favorites.
I am participating in NaBloPoMo.