The Trouble with Harry

Released 1955




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Movie Summary

Alfred Hitchcock

The Trouble with Harry is a 1955 classic black comedy directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Harry, a stranger, is found dead at the top of a hill outside of a small village in Vermont. Captain Albert Wiles (Edmund Gwenn) believes he may be responsible, as he was hunting rabbits just outside of the village. Miss Ivy Gravely (Mildred Natwick) also has a nagging suspicion that she may have been the cause of Harry's demise, as she had clobbered him with her hiking boot. A third person also believes she might have killed Harry - young Jennifer Rogers (Shirley MacLaine), Harry's wife, who believes he may have died after she hit him with a bottle. In any case, all three would like to keep the death from coming to the attention of Deputy Sheriff Calvin Wiggs (Royal Dano). With the help of Sam Marlowe (John Forsythe), an impoverished artist, they bury the unfortunate Harry. But he keeps having to be resurrected...


Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Empire David Parkinson

    A lighter film for Hitchcock but with a wonderfully sewn narrative and some good performances.

  • 75

    LarsenOnFilm Josh Larsen

    A curious comedy that neither looks back at Rear Window nor ahead to Vertigo, but rather exists in some goofy space all its own. It's as if Hitchcock went on vacation, but kept wor...

  • 60

    Time Out

    Hitchcock is reluctant to follow the subversive premises of the story through to their outrageous logical conclusion; the dialogue's sexual innuendoes now seem coy and awkward; the...

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Alfred Hitchcock was insistent that Harry, the corpse, should be played by an actual actor, Philip Truex, and not represented by a dummy, as was usual in films. (Harry is never seen alive in the film).

    • This was Shirley MacLaine's first film. She was twenty years old when she made it and had special "introducing" credit.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Captain Albert Wiles: [finding Harry's corpse]: One pot-shot at a rabbit and I'm a murderer!

    • Arnie Rogers: [surveying the dead rabbit]: Four rabbit's feet - and he got killed!

    • Captain Albert Wiles: [boasting of his adventures]: I'm a man who's seen death many times.
      Miss Ivy Gravely: Rather recently, too...

    • Miss Ivy Graveley: [politely, upon seeing Captain Wiles lugging Harry's corpse into the forest]: What seems to be the trouble, Captain?

    • Arnie Rogers: You never know when a dead rabbit will come in handy.

    • Sam Marlowe: You old social butterfly!
      Miss Gravely: 'Old'?!
      Sam Marlowe: That was figuratively speaking, Miss Gravely.
      Miss Gravely: How old do you think I am, young man?
      Sam Marlowe: Hm... 50? How old do YOU think you are?
      Miss Gravely: 42! - I can show you my birth certificate.
      Sam Marlowe: I'm afraid you're gonna have to show more than your birth certificate to convince a man of that!

  • NOTES (1)

    • Alfred Hitchcock was particularly fond of this film, although it was, as he anticipated, not a box-office success. When he was preparing his long-running television series, he showed the film to James Allardice, whom he had hired to write his various introductions to the show's episodes; it showed Allardice the sort of droll tone he should be aiming for.


More Info About This Movie


Dark Comedy, Classics