Friday, 22 February 2013



Henry Koster

James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow, Charles Drake, Jesse White, Wallace Ford, William H. Lynn, Virginia Horne and Cecil Kellaway

7 and up

Elwood P. Dowd (Stewart) is a mild-mannered, polite, pleasant and kind bachelor. He has an imaginary 6’3” tall friend, Harvey, a rabbit only he can see. This imaginery rabbit irritates the lives of Dowd’s sister Simmons (Hull) and his niece Myrtle (Horne), so they send him to a sanatorium run by doctors Sanderson (Drake) and Chumley (Kellaway). Sanderson is aided by Miss Kelly (Dow) while Chumley is aided by Wilson (White). When Dowd is about to get an injection that will make Dowd's imaginery friend disappear, Simmons thinks hard on what she wants her brother to be.                  
Elwood admiring a portrait of himself and Harvey.

Why it’s good:
“When I was young, I was smart. I recommend pleasant.” It’s a really good quote from Dowd.

That is probably Stewart’s best quote. The quote is the mellowest part of the film, when Chumley and Dowd were in the room together with Harvey, talking.

Does Harvey exist? In a children’s world, it actually may. To an adult, the answer is no, not till Harvey cranks the handle and comes out of the sanatorium gates....

Harvey is a really special feel-good movie. It is creative, written by the creative Mary Chase. Stewart is right to say this is his favourite; it is my favourite comedy in this section.

So, show this to the younger ones, too. Some parts are mellow, some funny, some leaving the kids in hilarious uproar (especially the merry-go-rounds).

Parent’s guide:

Not much at all. Dowd takes a casual drink at the bar in one scene, and Dowd's drinking problem is also discussed in some parts of the film.


In the film, they say Dowd looks up to Harvey. It couldn’t be true, as Harvey was 6’3” and Stewart was 6’4”.                 

If you like this…:

"The Bishop’s Wife" (1947), also by director Henry Koster, is a similar comedy covering similar ground.      

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