“Well I’ll be swizzled.”
I cry fowl… or hare. I asked my invisible friend named Mortimer, a fifteen foot 3.75 inch giraffe, if Harvey was the real deal and he said it was bollocks. The movie still fills me with joy no matter what Mortimer says and Stewart shows that you don’t have to be sane to have a positive outlook.Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) is a genial and friendly man who has one best friend in the whole world. His sister Veta (Josephine Hull) and her daughter Myrtle May (Victoria Horne) are rushing him out of the house so that they can have a tea party. They don’t want him to come home and call Judge Gaffney (William H. Lynn) to try and keep him away. Why? Because that best friend of Elwood’s is a six foot, three and a half inch rabbit called Harvey that only he can see. That puts a crimp in Myrtle May’s social life and the only way that Veta thinks that she can fix it all is to put Elwood in the rigid Dr. Chumley’s (Cecil Kellaway) sanitarium. However, the evaluation by Dr. Sanderson (Charles Drake) and Nurse Kelly (Peggy Dow) has the tables turned on the high-strung Veta. Now the chase is on by Chumley, Sanderson, Kelly and Mr. Wilson (Jesse White) to find Elwood and his mischievous pooka pal.
In the 1950s, it was pretty much run away time if somebody started telling you about their invisible friends. Nowadays, we give them their own reality show and usually their behavior borders on the psychotic not the mild-mannered kind of Mr. Dowd. It springs from the play by Mary Chase. Jimmy Stewart lists Harvey as one of his favorite films, that’s quite a calling card in that impressive filmography. It certainly got him an Oscar nomination, but Hull would be the one to walk away with the gold for her delightful turn as Veta. Harvey is a charmer that harkens back to that a simpler time. It still has the power to charm thanks to that turn by Stewart and company. It looks excellent on Blu-ray, although even in high definition I still couldn’t see the rabbit.
Harvey is presented in a 1080p transfer (1.33:1). Special features include a 7 minute narrative introduction by Stewart with production photos (done for the VHS release, remember those?), the 2 minute theatrical trailer, and the ever familiar 100 Years of Universal featurettes: the Carl Laemmle Era (8 minutes) and the Lew Wasserman Era (9 minutes). You also get it on DVD and a digital copy.
Harvey still can pull you into its spell by the charm of the amiable Jimmy Stewart. It is one of his favorites and I’d have to chalk it up as one of mine as well. It looks grand in high definition; I just wish there could’ve been some new film specific special features.
Visit the DVD database for more information.