🎥 Harvey – 1950
The Story …
Elwood P. Dowd is an amiable but eccentric man whose best friend is an invisible, 6 ft 3+1⁄2 in-tall (1.92 m) white rabbit named Harvey.
As described by Elwood, Harvey is a puca, a benign but mischievous creature from Celtic mythology. Elwood spends most of his time taking Harvey around town, drinking at various bars and introducing Harvey to almost every person he meets, much to the puzzlement of strangers, though Elwood’s friends have accepted Harvey’s (supposed) existence.
His older sister Veta and his niece Myrtle Mae live with him in his large estate, but have become social outcasts along with Elwood due to his obsession with Harvey …
After Elwood ruins a party Veta and Myrtle Mae had arranged in secret, Veta finally tries to have him committed to a local sanatorium. In exasperation she admits to the attending psychiatrist, Dr. Sanderson, that she sees Harvey every once in a while herself. Mistaking Veta as the real mental case, Sanderson has Elwood released and Veta locked up.
Dr. Chumley, head of the sanatorium, discovers the mistake and realizes he must bring Elwood back, searching the town with Wilson, an orderly. With Veta’s help, Chumley eventually tracks Elwood to his favorite bar, “Charlie’s”, and decides to confront him alone.
Four hours later, Wilson returns to the sanatorium, but learns from Sanderson and nurse Kelly that Chumley has not returned with Elwood. They arrive at Charlie’s and find Elwood alone; he explains that Chumley had wandered off with Harvey after several rounds of drinks.
When asked, Elwood explains that he met Harvey one night several years ago after escorting a drunk friend to a taxi, and they had since enjoyed going to bars and socializing with other patrons to hear their grand life stories and aspirations. Convinced Elwood is insane and may have harmed Chumley, Wilson calls the police and has Elwood escorted back to the sanatorium.
Chumley returns to the sanatorium disheveled and paranoid, and is followed by an invisible presence. When the others arrive, Chumley invites Elwood to his office. In private, Chumley says that he now knows Harvey is real, and Elwood explains Harvey’s various powers, including his ability to stop time, send anyone to any destination for as long as they like, and then bring them back without a minute passing.
Chumley expresses his fantasy to go to Akron with a beautiful woman for two weeks. Veta arrives with Judge Gaffney and Myrtle Mae, prepared to commit Elwood, but are convinced by Sanderson that an injection of a serum called Formula 977 will stop Elwood from “seeing the rabbit”.
As they prepare the injection, Veta tries to pay the cab driver but, emptying her purse, is unable to find her smaller coin purse. She interrupts the injection procedure and asks Elwood to pay the driver. Warmed by Elwood’s kindness, the cab driver explains how he has driven many people to the sanatorium to receive the same medicine, warning Veta that Elwood will soon become “a perfectly normal human being, and you know what stinkers they are.”
Veta is upset by this, and halts the injection; she then finds her coin purse, and realizes that Harvey had intervened to save her brother.
Leaving the institute, Elwood sees Harvey on the porch swing. Harvey tells him that he’s decided to stay and take Chumley on his fantasy trip to Akron.
Elwood walks out the gates dejected, but after they close he sees Harvey coming back, and the gate lever is moved to the open position by an unseen force. Elwood happily says “I prefer you too, Harvey”, and they follow Veta and Myrtle Mae into the sunrise.
- Directed by Henry Koster
- Screenplay by Mary Chase, Oscar Brodney and Myles Connolly
- Based on Harvey 1944 play by Mary Chase
- Produced by John Beck
- Cinematography William H. Daniels
- Edited by Ralph Dawson
- Music by Frank Skinner
- Production Company : Universal Pictures
- Distributed by Universal Pictures
- Release Date : December 4, 1950
- James Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd
- Josephine Hull as Veta Louise Simmons
- Peggy Dow as Miss Kelly
- Charles Drake as Dr. Sanderson
- Cecil Kellaway as Dr. Chumley
- Victoria Horne as Myrtle Mae Simmons
- Jesse White as Wilson
- William H. Lynn as Judge Gaffney
- Wallace Ford as the taxi driver
- Nana Bryant as Mrs. Chumley
- Grayce Mills as Aunt Ethel
- Clem Bevans as Mr. Shimelplatzer
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