Who's Harry Crumb?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Who's Harry Crumb?
Whos harry crumb.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Flaherty
Written byRobert Conte
Peter Martin Wortmann
Produced byArnon Milchan
CinematographyStephen M. Katz
Edited byDanford B. Greene
Music byMichel Colombier[1]
Distributed byTri-Star Pictures
Release date
  • February 3, 1989 (1989-02-03)
Running time
90 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Box office$10,982,000

Who's Harry Crumb? is a 1989 American comedy-mystery film featuring John Candy as the title character. Paul Flaherty directed the film, which co-stars Annie Potts, Jeffrey Jones and Shawnee Smith. An uncredited cameo appearance is made by Jim Belushi.[3] The story concerns the often incompetent, sometimes brilliant, private investigator Harry Crumb, who searches for a kidnapping victim.


While visiting a health studio in Beverly Hills, fashion model Jennifer Downing, the daughter of millionaire P.J. Downing, is kidnapped. Her father turns to a family friend, Eliot Draisen, who is president of the detective agency Crumb & Crumb, to investigate the case.

Eliot is reluctant to supply P.J. with one of his capable detectives because, as it turns out, Eliot himself is the organizer of the kidnapping. To give the appearance of taking the investigation seriously, Eliot offers P.J. the services of Harry Crumb, the last descendant of the agency's founders. Eliot knows that Harry is incompetent and counts on this fact to get away with the crime.

Harry returns to Los Angeles (by bus) from an assignment in the firm's Tulsa, Oklahoma branch office (which he messed up, as usual). He is assisted in his investigation by P.J.'s younger daughter, Nikki, who is considerably smarter than he is. Harry deduces that Nikki's stepmother, Helen Downing, is having an affair with tennis coach Vince Barnes, and concludes she is behind the kidnapping. Helen is desired by Eliot, but all she is interested in is money. She tries to get rid of her husband on several occasions and does her best – along with Barnes – to get the ransom for herself.

Also assigned to the case is Police Detective Casey, who (unlike Harry) is competent and experienced in kidnapping cases, and has a strongly negative opinion of private eyes.

Eliot escapes to the airport, bound for Buenos Aires. He makes the mistake of informing Helen of his plans; she and Barnes take the money and leave him bound and gagged. Harry arrives to confront Helen and Barnes just as their plane prepares to take off. Jennifer is freed and Eliot is found.

Falsely believing Harry has deduced his part in the kidnapping and exasperated with Harry's dumb luck, Eliot confesses and is taken into police custody. Harry is thanked for his heroism in the case and even Det. Casey applauds Harry for solving the case. In the end, Harry takes over as the new president of his family's business, and promptly accepts a new assignment to investigate another case, this time a murder committed in a gay bar.


Box office[edit]

Who's Harry Crumb? grossed $10,982,364 in North America.[4] The film was released in the United Kingdom on July 6, 1989, and failed to reach the Top 15.[5]


The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 27%, with an average rating of 4.03/10, based on eleven reviews.[6] In March 2018, Den of Geek included the film as one of "The Underrated Movies of 1989", commenting "In truth, Who's Harry Crumb? isn't necessarily vintage Candy either, but it's still a lot of fun, and gives him a title role that he clearly enjoyed."[7]


  1. ^ Hischak, Thomas S. (16 April 2015). The Encyclopedia of Film Composers. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-4422-4550-1.
  2. ^ Staff writer (21 April 1989). "Who's Harry Crumb (Film)". British Board of Film Classification. Approved running time 89m 40s... This work was cut. To obtain this category cuts of 0m 1s were required.
  3. ^ McLeod, Kembrew (February 2005). Freedom of Expression. Doubleday. pp. 191–192. ISBN 0-385-51325-9 – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ "Who's Harry Crumb? - Box Office Mojo".
  5. ^ "UK Weekend Box Office 7th July 1989 - 8th July 1989". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Who's Harry Crumb?". Rotten Tomatoes.
  7. ^ Lambie, Ryan; Brew, Simon (23 March 2018). "The Underrated Movies of 1989". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing.

External links[edit]