The Trouble with Harry
|The Trouble With Harry|
Original VistaVision poster
|Directed by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Produced by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Screenplay by||John Michael Hayes|
|Story by||Jack Trevor Story|
|Music by||Bernard Herrmann|
|Editing by||Alma Macrorie|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures
|Running time||99 minutes|
The Trouble with Harry is a 1955 American black comedy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the 1950 novel of the same name by Jack Trevor Story. It was released in the United States on October 3, 1955 then rereleased once the distribution rights were acquired by Universal Pictures in 1984. The film starred John Forsythe and Edmund Gwenn; Shirley MacLaine and Jerry Mathers co-starred, both in their first film roles.
The quirky but down-to-earth residents of the small hamlet of Highwater, Vermont, are faced with the freshly dead body of Harry Worp (Phillip Truex), which has inconveniently appeared on the hillside above the town. The problem of what to do with the body and, more importantly, how and why Harry was killed is the "trouble with Harry".
Three of the main characters in the film each believe at some point that they are the one who actually killed Harry. Captain Wiles (Edmund Gwenn) is sure that he killed the man with a stray shot from his rifle while hunting, until it is shown he actually shot a rabbit. Spunky and independent young Jennifer Rogers (Shirley MacLaine), Harry's estranged wife who along with her small son Arnie (Jerry Mathers) ran away from the loveless marriage, believes that he died after she hit him with a milk bottle after he tracked her down. Miss Gravely (Mildred Natwick) feels that the man died after a blow from the heel of her hiking boot after he came at her out of the bushes (still reeling from the blow received at the hands of Jennifer). Sam Marlowe (John Forsythe), an attractive and nonconformist artist, is open-minded about the whole event and is prepared to help his friends and neighbors in any way he can. In any case, nobody is upset about this death.
However, none of the principal characters want the body to come to the attention of the "authorities" in the form of cold, humorless Deputy Sheriff Calvin Wiggs (Royal Dano), who earns his living per arrest. The main characters conceal the body by burying it and then have to dig it up again. This happens several times. The body is also concealed at one point by hiding it in a bathtub.
In the end it is established that Harry actually died of natural causes; no foul play was involved. In the meantime, Sam and Jennifer have fallen in love, as have the Captain and Miss Gravely. Sam has been able to sell his paintings to a passing millionaire. The artist refuses to accept money and instead requests a few simple gifts for his friends and himself.
|This section's listed sources may not meet Wikipedia's guidelines for reliable sources. (September 2012)|
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (September 2012)|
Although one of Hitchcock's few true comedies (though most of his films had some element of tongue-in-cheek or macabre humor), the film was a box office disappointment.
The film also contained what was, at the time, frank dialogue. This is seen when John Forsythe's character unabashedly tells MacLaine's character that he would like to paint a nude portrait of her. The statement by Forsythe's character was quite racy for its time.
Other than NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies network television broadcast in the early 1960s, the film was unavailable for nearly 30 years once Hitchcock bought back the rights to the film following its initial release. After protracted negotiations with the Hitchcock estate, Universal finally reissued it in 1984 along with four others, including Rear Window and Vertigo which in turn led to VHS and eventually DVD versions for the home video market.
Primary location shooting took place in Craftsbury, Vermont. Assuming that the town would be in full foliage, the company showed up for outdoor shots on September 27, 1954. To the filmmakers' shock, there was hardly any foliage left; to achieve a full effect, leaves were glued to the trees. Several scenes in the film had to be shot in a rented high school gym because of persistent rain. In the gym, a 500 lb (226 kg) Technicolor camera fell from a great height and barely missed hitting Hitchcock, and the sound of the rain on the roof of the gym necessitated extensive post-production re-recording.
While the movie was a financial failure in the U.S., it played for a year in England and Rome, and a year and a half in France. Full details on the making of the film are in Steven DeRosa's book Writing with Hitchcock.
Alfred Hitchcock's cameo is a signature occurrence in most of his films. In The Trouble With Harry, he can be seen 21 minutes into the film as he walks past a parked limousine while an old man looks at paintings for sale at the roadside stand.
The corpse Harry Worp was played by Hollywood actor Phillip Truex (uncredited).
Musical score 
The Trouble With Harry is notable as a landmark in Hitchcock's career as it marked the beginning of several highly regarded collaborations with composer Bernard Herrmann. In an interview for the New York Times on June 18, 1971, Hitchcock stated that it was his favorite of all his films. Herrmann rerecorded a new arrangement of highlights from the film's score for Phase 4 Stereo with Herrmann calling the arrangement A Portrait of Hitch.
A song sung by John Forsythe's character, "Flaggin' the Train to Tuscaloosa", was written by Raymond Scott.
A "cash-in" single titled "The Trouble with Harry" by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. using the pseudonym of "Alfi & Harry" was released in early 1956. In the US the song reached #44 on the Billboard charts; in the UK it peaked at number 15. The title aside, the record had no connection with the film.
- Return of the missing Hitchcocks - The Times 15 November 1983
- Barton Chronicle book review retrieved August 21, 2009
- Writing with Hitchcock
- MUSIC FROM THE GREAT MOVIE THRILLERS - MUSIC COMPOSED BY BERNARD HERRMANN FROM THE MOTION PICTURES DIRECTED BY ALFRED HITCHCOCK - Bernard Herrmann conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Phase 4 Stereo SP 44126
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: The Trouble with Harry|
- The Trouble With Harry at the TCM Movie Database
- The Trouble With Harry at the Internet Movie Database
- The Trouble With Harry at AllRovi
- Profile of Hitchcock at Senses of Cinema website, giving particular attention to The Trouble With Harry
- The Trouble With Harry Screenshot Gallery at Alfred Hitchcock Fans Online
- The Trouble With Harry Eyegate Gallery