Detective Guy Johnson's client, Willie Heywood is framed for murder and while Guy hides him so he can catch the real killer, both of them are nabbed by the police, tried, convicted and ... See full summary »
W.S. Van Dyke
James Stewart stars as Elwood P. Dowd, whose constant companion is Harvey, a six-foot tall invisible rabbit. To his sister, his obsession with Harvey has been a thorn in her plans to marry ... See full summary »
An unlikely hero, Elwood P. Dowd. This mild-mannered-but-eccentric bachelor has, for several years, happily kept company with Harvey, a six-foot-tall rabbit that only he can see. All's well... See full summary »
The classic stage hit gets the Hollywood treatment in the story of Elwood P. Dowd who makes friends with a spirit taking the form of a human-sized rabbit named Harvey that only he sees (and a few privileged others on occasion also.) After his sister tries to commit him to a mental institution, a comedy of errors ensues. Elwood and Harvey become the catalysts for a family mending its wounds and for romance blossoming in unexpected places. Written by
Though James Stewart's character, Elwood P. Dowd, may certainly be referred to as an alcoholic, only at one time in the entire picture is he seen taking a drink. See more »
At the end of the movie when Harvey is supposed to be in the porch swing, you can see that someone is pulling a string on the arm of the swing to make the swing change its motion. See more »
Elwood P. Dowd:
[talking about Harvey]
Did I tell you he could stop clocks?
To what purpose.
Elwood P. Dowd:
Well, you've heard the expression; 'his face would stop a clock'.
Elwood P. Dowd:
Well, Harvey can look at your clock... and stop it. And you can go anywhere you like, with anyone you like, and stay as long as you like, and when you get back... not one minute will have ticked by.
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At the very end Harvey opens a door and the words at the bottom of the screen say "Harvey as Himself." See more »
I have read that James Stewart considered Elwood P. Dowd his most personally significant role. In a career that spanned decades and included such great works at It's a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, choosing Harvey's friend, Elwood, as his personal favorite says something about rather powerful about Mr. Stewart and Mr. Dowd.
James Stewart was a down to earth, decent man whose personal life was as honorable as the lives of George Bailey and Jefferson Smith - but he admired Elwood P. Dowd, an alcoholic dreamer with an invisible giant white rabbit as his best friend. Not what you would expect of a man who piloted B-17's and led giant raids over Germany in WWII.
Elwood's attraction for us is perhaps what attracted him so much to James Stewart. Elwood is happy with himself and his life and even more importantly, he makes others happy with their lives. That is the great magic of Elwood and Harvey: they make others happy and they bring peace and a measure of contentment to almost everyone who know them.
I have seen another version of Harvey with Art Carney and it was quite good, but lacked the sense of magic that is a benediction in this version of Harvey. In the Carney version, you can see Harvey - he is a giant white rabbit - and seeing Harvey takes much of the magic away. When you watch Jimmy Stewart, you never really know if Harvey is real or not. You know that Elwood thinks he is real and you know that Elwood's family thinks Elwood is crazy. After watching for a while, you don't really care if Harvey is real. Elwood is real and it is his belief in Harvey and what Harvey represents to him that endows him with such sweet and gentle charm. Harvey is his rejection of the harshness and materialism of the world.
Harvey is a charming, magical masterpiece of kindness and goodness that somehow never becomes maudlin. Elwood and Harvey do not feel sorry for themselves and they most certainly do not expect you to feel sorry for them either. If anything, Elwood feels sorry for the rest of the world and he does not understand how everyone can't see as clearly as he does. For in his world, we are all brothers who should love as generously and kindly as Mr. Stewart's Elwood P. Dowd.
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