The Trouble With Harry (1955) ★★★★☆

Who said being dead was easy… 

A dead body inconveniently appears on the hillside above the town of Highwater, Vermont. It is stumbled upon on by Captain Albert Wiles (Edmund Gwenn), who is convinced he shot the man when previously trying to kill a rabbit. His efforts in hiding the body however, are thrown down the drain as fellow residents of the town keep appearing to discover the body. Only one person recognises the body – Harry’s estranged wife, Jennifer (Shirley MacLaine). A few of the residents team up to seek the truth of what really happened…

Despite its American setting, in which the landscape and cinematography is beautiful, it holds a strong British feel to the film. Famous for his suspenseful thrillers, comedy is not a genre you would typically associate with Hitchcock. In fact, this film seems to almost go out of its way to avoid elements such as suspense and action. The Trouble With Harry is a well-scripted piece of drama that contains a lot of dry, black humour. It is definitely not for everyone, considering a corpse is the centre of the entertainment. The film wasn’t “hilarious”, but was often amusing, and quite concerning regarding how people acted around the dead body. Maclaine displays good comedic timing, but it’s Edmund Gwenn, in his last film for Hitchcock, who is the best of the bunch. Herrmann’s score is engaging, working particularly well with the cinematography of the autumn countryside.

Perhaps not strong enough for a wider audience, but for fellow Hitchcock fans, it is definitely worth seeing. The conclusion is slightly weak, but overall, the film was good. The dark elements of irony are still present, yet they seem somewhat misplaced within this light-hearted effort. It doesn’t hold a candle to Rear Window and Vertigo, but considering its age, it’s still a very effective film.

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