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Over the years, Alfred Hitchcock gave the world such thrillers as Rebecca, Psycho and The Birds. He also gave us a few comedies, such as this one, a 1955 adaptation of Jack Trevor Story's novel. Originally the film was a box office failure but it has since become well regarded.
The residents of a small Vermont town are faced with the appearance of one Harry Worp. The trouble with Harry is that he's dead. Four people in particular are concerned with what to do with him: Captain Albert Wiles (Edmund Gwenn), who thinks he shot Harry on accident while hunting; Jennifer Rogers (Shirley MacLaine, in her film debut), who was his wife; Ivy Gravely (Mildred Natwick), who hit Harry in self-defense after he attacked her; and Sam Marlowe (John Forsythe), who never actually met Harry, but is interested in Jennifer. The rest of the movie is spent trying to figure out why he's dead, and more importantly, what to do with the body.
Provides Examples Of:
- Bernard Herrmann: Composed the music score, his first of several for Hitchcock.
- Black Comedy
- Chekhov's Gun: Sam's drawing of Harry.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The tramp. He is later picked up by the police for taking Harry's shoes and is the one who informs them of the body.
- Dead Man's Chest
- Deadpan Snarker: Sam
- The End: "The trouble with Harry is over."
- Everybody Did It: Subverted; everyone assumes they caused Harry's death. In the end, it's revealed he died naturally.
- Fake-Out Opening: The movie's original trailer had one of these.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: When the Captain finds Harry's body, he exclaims For rice cake!"
- Happily Ever After: "The trouble with Harry is over."
- Hollywood New England: But the gorgeous autumn location footage makes it okay.
- MacGuffin: Harry
- Maiden Aunt: Ivy Gravely
- Posthumous Character: The titular Harry.
- Romancing the Widow: Sam and Jennifer.
- Starving Artist: Sam