(3/5) comedy – mystery
Reviews: Rotten Tomatoes 89% | IMDb External Reviews
The Trouble with Harry (1955) is not your typical Hitchcock movie. It is, to some degree, a who-done it, but it is hardly suspenseful. IMDb calls it a comedy | mystery | thriller. I agree with the comedy part and, perhaps its a bit of a mystery. But it is hardly a thriller. Rather its a small, sleepy, madcap of a movie (if a movie that slow can be called a madcap) with a good ensemble cast.
Edmund Gwenn finds the rather dead (‘Harry’) while hunting. He thinks he shot the man. Remarkably, multiple residents of a tiny hamlet trundle by the ‘scene of the crime’ , even though the scene is a remote hilltop in the woods. Confusion, cover-ups, mix-ups and new-found love ensues.
This was Shirley MacLaine’s film debut. At 21, she was at her buttoned-nosed cutest. She was terrific from the start, playing a recently widowed, single mother. [My all-time favourite Maclaine movie is probably The Apartment (1960), with Jack Lemmon].
What struck me most, though, was how contemporary actress Julianne Nicholson is a dead ringer for Shirley MacLaine in this film (see photos below). If this film were ever re-made, Nicholson would be the spot-on choice to play her role. Better yet, if a movie required a young and old version of Shirley MacLaine, these two would be a perfect match – not just for their remarkably comparable looks but for their similar personalities
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(5/5) drama, mystery, romance, thriller
In Vertigo (1958) a retired police officer played by Jimmy Stewart is forced to confront his dizzying fear of heights (vertigo) in order to solve a mystery.
A friend’s wife, played by Kim Novak, is suffering from a form of dissociative fugue (sudden personality changes combined with travel to non-customary places and the inability to recall what happened). As she wanders off, she behaves as though she’s embodied an ancestor that committed suicide a century earlier. The husband hires Stewart to follow her around to both protect her and to be sure of her illness before committing her to a sanatorium.
As Stewart becomes increasingly infatuated with Novak, a love triangle forms. His not-so-secretly-in-love-with-him buddy, played by Barbara Bel Geddes, becomes increasingly concerned over Stewart’s new obsession.
Stewart was 50 when this movie was made. Novak and Geddes were 25 and 36 respectively. As a 43 year old male, I like to fantasize that women in their mid-twenties to mid 30’s will be attracted to me when I’m 50. But, alas, this only happens in the movies. 🙂
A Post Card from 1958 San Francisco
Vertigo is shot in and around 1958 San Francisco. The city and surrounding countryside play integral roles in the plot. A first kiss at Cypress Point is punctuated with a wave crashing to the shore. A flock of birds takes off from the lagoon as the characters stroll past the Palace of Fine Arts. Coit Tower stands prominently outside the windows of both Stewart’s and Geddes’ apartments. The streets of San Francisco are constantly highlighted as Stewart follows Novak around.
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